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Cricket’s anniversary: First Test match was played this day, 140 years ago

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

A day before India take on Australia in what has been one of the most fiercely contested rivalries over the years, Test cricket celebrated its 140th anniversary.

The first ever Test match was played on March 15, 1877 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia won the four-day affair, which ended on March 19, by 45 runs. The fourth day, March 18, was a rest day.

Australian opener Charles Bannerman was the scorer of the first run and subsequently the first hundred in the longest and most intriguing version of the gentleman’s game.

It was a well-oiled English team that took on a relatively raw Australian squad who defied odds to turn the tables on their more accomplished counterparts.

The match began on 1:05 PM on a Thursday with the hosts batting first. The first ball was bowled by Alfred Shaw to Bannerman, who scored the first run in the history of the game with a single before retiring hurt for 165. He had sustained an injury to the index finger of his right hand.

The Aussies posted a first innings total of 245 as their other batsmen collapsed around Bannerman whose score was the highest of the match.

For England, Shaw and James Southerton returned best bowling figures of 3/51 and 3/61, respectively. Southerton is still the oldest Test debutant at 49 years and 119 days.

In reply, England failed to live up to their billing, managing only 196 with Billy Midwinter (5/78) running through their batting line-up. Opener Harry Jupp top-scored for the visitors with a 241-ball 63.

Taking a 49-run lead, the Aussies struggled in the second innings and were dismissed for a meagre 104. England’s Shaw turned on the heat with innings figures of 5/38.

Chasing a target of 153, England took the Aussie route in their second essay, bundling out for just 108. Australian bowler Tom Kendall returned best figures of the match with 7/55.

This match saw attendance surging to nearly 12,000.

In the second Test, England came back to level the series. Later this rivalry between England and Australia came to be known as the Ashes with the competition beginning 1882.

There is previous history of cricket too involving USA, Canada and New Zealand but the contest between USA and Canada was never considered an official Test match.
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