Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC), with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days. It is generally considered the ultimate test of playing ability and endurance in the sport. The origin of the name Test stems from the fact that the long, gruelling match is a "test" of the relative strength of the two sides.
The first officially recognised Test match commenced on 15 March 1877, contested by England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where Australia won by 45 runs. England won the second match (also at the MCG) by four wickets, thus drawing the series 1–1. This was not the first international cricket match, however. That was played between Canada and the United States, on 24 and 25 September 1844.
A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne from 12 to 17 March 1977. In this match, Australia beat England by 45 runs. In a remarkable co-incidence, this is the same margin as the result of the first Test match in 1877, which the 1977 match was commemorating.
On October 29, 2012 The International Cricket Council paved the way for the staging of day-night Test matches.
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