Tests take fresh guard at 2,000 not out
A five-day contest where often neither side wins, Test cricket may
seem out of touch with 21st Century life yet next week's series opener
between England and India at Lord's will mark its 2,000th match.
Muttiah Muralitharan became the first bowler to take 800 Test
wickets when he takes a wicket off his final ball in Tests,
And with a sell-out crowd expected at the 'home of cricket', where
India great Sachin Tendulkar could become the first player to score a
hundred international hundreds it seems there is life in the old dog
Certainly no-one designing a sporting format today would come up with
anything like Test cricket.
Yet its sheer length, and associated unrivalled capacity for changes
of fortune - this month marks the 30th anniversary of England's
remarkable win, following on, against Australia at Headingley - means it
can create more truly memorable moments than one-day and Twenty20
Starting with a match between Australia and England at Melbourne in
1877, it took a while for Test cricket to be regarded as more important
than the old rivals' own first-class matches and, South Africa apart,
its global appeal in those early years was strictly limited.
Tests were also, for much of their history, comparatively rare events
with 803 matches played in the first hundred years compared to 1,197 in
the last 34 years.
There has rarely been an age since its inception when Test cricket
was not facing a crisis many thought threatened its existence, with last
year's spot-fixing scandal involving Pakistan players in England the
If that had diplomatic, as well as sporting, ramifications so too did
the Bodyline series of 1929/30, when England quicks Harold Larwood and
Bill Voce bowled to a packed legside field in a bid to curb the
phenomenal run-scoring of Australia great Don Bradman.
Even so one-day cricket migrated to the international arena and soon
proved itself a commercial success.
Recently the advent of the brash Twenty20, again migrating from the
county to the world stage, opened up new audiences.
And, with the creation of the Twenty20 Indian Premier League, vast
new riches were available to players without the need to have first
established their status in the Test arena. Day/night Tests, often
heralded as a way of bringing back spectators, remain on the drawing
board and whether the ICC's proposed Test Championship, billed as a way
of giving greater context to individual series, captures the public
imagination, remains to be seen. AFP
In 2010, India’s Sachin Tendulkar scores a record 50th Test
century, against South Africa in Centurion
Landmarks in Test history ahead of the 2,000th Test, between England
and India, at Lord's starting on Thursday:
1877: Australia and England play what is later recognised as the
first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Charles Bannerman scores the
first Test hundred in a match Australia win by 45 runs.
1920/21: Australia, led by Warwick Armstrong, inflict a 5-0 Ashes
thrashing on England the first whitewash in a five-match series.
1930: Bradman rewrites the record books by scoring 974 runs still a
record in a five-Test series as Australia win 2-1 in England.
1932/33: The most controversial series of all time sees England
captain Douglas Jardine instruct fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill
Voce to bowl short to the Australians on and outside leg stump, with a
packed legside field.
'Bodyline' helps England win the Ashes but leads to a diplomatic row.
1938: England's Len Hutton scores a record-breaking 364 out of a
total of 903 as Australia are hammered by an innings and 579 runs, still
a record margin.
Bradman, needing four in his last Test innings for an average of 100,
is bowled for nought and has to settle for 99.94.
1956: England off-spinner Jim Laker becomes the first bowler to take
all 10 wickets in a Test innings, against Australia at Old Trafford.
1964: England fast bowler Fred Trueman become the first bowler to
take 300 Test wickets, against Australia at The Oval.
1990: New Zealand's Richard Hadlee becomes the first bowler to take
400 Test wickets.
1994: Brian Lara breaks Sobers's record with 375 against England in
1997: Sri Lanka pile up 952 for six against India in Colombo the
highest Test total of all-time.
2004: Lara makes the first quadruple century in Tests, against
England in Antigua, to regain the world record he'd lost to Australia's
2006: Pakistan become the first side in history to forfeit a Test
when, after being penalised five runs for alleged ball-tampering by
Australian umpire Darrell Hair, they refuse to take the field against
England after tea on the fourth day at The Oval.
2010: Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan becomes the first
bowler to take 800 Test wickets when he takes a wicket off his final
ball in Tests, against India.
2010: A tabloid sting operation indicates Pakistan captain Salman
Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif are all prepared to deliberately
bowl no-balls in a Test against England at Lord's as part of a
spot-fixing scam. The trio are all eventually banned by the ICC.
2010: India's Sachin Tendulkar scores a record 50th Test century,
against South Africa in Centurion.