Test cricket is the longest and oldest form of cricket. A Test match is played between nations who are awarded the status of a Test playing nation by the International Cricket Council (ICC). As of now, 12 countries have been awarded Test status, with Afghanistan and Ireland joining the list in 2017 after achieving a lot of success over the past few years.
The first official Test match was played between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia in 1877, with the former winning the match by 45 runs. Interestingly, a match between the two sides was played a century later, in 1977, with Australia winning the match by the same margin of 45 runs.
South Africa were the third nation to play Test cricket, playing their first match against England in 1889. The Indian cricket team played their first ever Test against England in 1932.
Test cricket has seen a lot of change over the years, with a lot of new rules and policies being implemented as the years progressed. One of the biggest changes which was seen was the change of a 6-day Test to a 5-day Test.
With each victory or draw, teams earn points, and are ranked by the ICC. The team, which ends the year as the no. 1 ranked team is awarded with the ICC Test Mace. Currently, the Indian cricket team is on top of the rankings and holds the mace.
With the increasing competition between the sides, Test cricket has given birth to various rivalries over the years. Let's take a look at some of these:
Undoubtedly the biggest rivalry in cricket, the Ashes is a Test series held between England and Australia. It dates back to the 18th century. The reason for the name "Ashes" is quite an interesting story. After Australia's 1882 victory at The Oval, a British newspaper, The Sporting Times put up an obituary stating that English cricket had died and "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". The then English captain Ivo Bligh then vowed to regain the Ashes. The 1882-83 series held in Australia were then known as the Ashes, which the England cricket team won. They were presented with an urn which consisted of ashes of "Australian cricket"
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is the name given to the series held between India and Australia. The series is named after Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border, two legends of Indian and Australian cricket respectively. The first Border-Gavaskar trophy took place in 1996 in India which India won 1-0. Australia managed to win only one series in India till-date, winning 2-1 in 2003-04. However, India have never won a Test series in Australia.
Anthony De Mello Trophy:
This is the name of the trophy given to the winner of the Test series played between India and England in India. The trophy is named after Anthony De Mello Trophy, one of the founders of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The first series took place in 1951.
This is the name of the trophy given to the winner of the series between India and South Africa. It is named after Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, two historic figures who were instrumental in their respective countries' freedom struggles.
Here is the entire list of prominent series:
Latest ICC Test rankings: