Test Match Cricket is nearing 150 years since the first one took place in 1877. Surprisingly The United States of America played the first Test match against Canada in 1844! For some reason, the match was considered ‘unofficial’ by the experts later.
Test matches are a five-day – affair now. But it was not so before. The matches could be three or four days as agreed between the playing teams. The match would last five days too in case the teams agreed! The last test match with rules bent was played in 1973, after which every cricket-playing nation agreed to the five-day format, and there would be a ‘ rest day ‘ in-between it.
At present, the rest day is also ruled out. Thanks to the ODI and T- 20 format, results are emerging more often than not in Test match Cricket.
There have been many instances where Test matches did not have to travel all five days. Below is an analysis of the ten shortest test matches in its History. The shortness is measured in balls bowled as there would have been weather issues.
|Sr. No||Year||Home Team||Visiting team||Venue||Winner||Balls Bowled|
|5||1889||South Africa||England||Cape Town||England||796|
|6||1912||England||South Africa||The Oval||England||815|
An Analysis of the table above:
• Three of these matches were played in the 19th century. England won twice and Australia once.
• Four of these matches were played in the 20th century. Yet again, it was between the arch-rivals England and Australia. They shared the honours equally.
• Three encounters in the current century. England and Australia took one each. For the first time, an Asian team won a short encounter. India at Ahmadabad under Virat Kohli’s captaincy on a square turner. Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel ran through the English Batsmen like nine- pins, thus setting up England to set a target of just 49 for the hosts. India won the match with ten wickets to spare.
As indicated before, Test Cricket is more result oriented now than ever in the game’s history. If the weather does not intervene, most five-day matches will become four or fewer.