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Test cricket is considered by many to be the purest form of the game of cricket. It's the basis of all modern cricket, be it One Day, Twenty20 or any other variation.
Die-hard cricket fans claim to know everything there is about this format, including the most obscure facts and historical accounts. However, we're pretty sure no cricket fanatic can claim to know all of these interesting details about India's most beloved sport.
Having said that, here are 10 things you (hopefully) never knew about test cricket:
Fact One: The first ever international cricket test match, which was played between Australia and England in 1877, was not really the first ever international game of cricket! This honour goes to the 1844 three-day clash between Canada and United States. The Canucks won this first-of-its-kind game held at St. George's Cricket Club in New York by 23 runs.
Fact Two: Speaking of the first international test match, it was played according to the old cricket rules. This meant each over was made up of four deliveries, as opposed to today's standard of six.
Fact Three: England-born Aussie opener, Charles Bannerman, played the first ball in international test cricket. He also happened to score his maiden test century (165) during test's debut!
Fact Four: England's Allen Hill, who played only two international games, claimed the first wicket in international test history. He bowled Aussie opener Nat Thomson--the first of his seven international scalps. The first ball in international cricket was bowled by his teammate Alfred Shaw.
Fact Five: The infamous Bodyline Ashes series of 1932-33 is still remembered for its main protagonists. Namely, England captain Douglas Jardine, fast bowler Harold Larwood, and Aussie batsman--and prime target--Don Brandman. However, another key member of the cast was then-Australian skipper Bill Woodfull, who's often conveniently left out of some Bodyline accounts.
Fact Six: During the 1947-48 series against a Don Bradman-led Australia side, Vijay Hazare scored hundreds in both innings of a test match. Despite his heroic 116 and 145, India lost the Adelaide test to Bradman's 'Invincibles.'
Fact Seven: For a while during the late 1930s, the international cricket community dabbled with timeless tests--tests that don't have a five-day limit, but that can go on until both sides have batted twice. This formula obviously didn't work, and was abandoned when a timeless test between England and South Africa had to be stopped on the tenth day. The reason for that had nothing to do with cricket; the English players simply had to catch their return boat!
Fact Eight: On July 19, 1952, India became the first--and only--international test team to be dismissed twice in one day. England restricted the visitors to paltry scores of 58 and 82 at Old Trafford to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-match series. However, India did manage to draw the final test--because it was rained out!
Fact Nine: Billy Midwinter of Australia got the first ever international five wicket haul in the second innings of the first international test. Later, he even went on to play for England, the very team he destroyed in 1877!
Fact Ten: England's Wilfred Rhodes, who made his debut in the summer of 1899, continued to play international cricket till 1930. He retired as the oldest cricketer to play internationally. He was 52 years and 156 days old--or rather, young!
-Picture courtesy Reuters-
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