140 years. That’s how long Test cricket has been around. Exactly 140 years, after the first ever Test started on 15th March 1877, between the England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. A timeless Test (not limited by time for a result) it ended with Australia winning by 45 runs.
And this historic day has been commemorated by Google in a Google Doodle, showing caricatures of cricket players as they looked back in the day. (Think, Lagaan and Captain Russel’s team.)
Here’s a history lesson for all cricket fans. Much before the Ashes, the first match between the histroic rivals saw plenty of drama. It was the time of four-ball overs and rest days and very old Test debutants. In fact, England’s James Southerton still holds the record for the oldest debut at 49 years and 199 days.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat and Charles Bannerman faced the first ever delivery, bowled by Alfred Shaw. Bannerman went on to score the first ever century, but had to retire hurt on 165 with a split index finger. Billy Midwinter then the first ever five-wicket haul. There was a crowd of 12,000 strong and Tom Kendall took 7 for 55 to give Australia the historic win. Here’s the scorecard for all the numbers.
Google has described it as “Today’s Doodle hits the deck with a lighthearted rendering that captures the spirit of sportsmanship and the inaugural test match. Mustachioed and musclebound, the batsmen, bowlers and opposition fielders spring into action, never losing sight of the red ball.”
Interestingly, Google’s map shows that this Doodle celebrating the match between England and Australia is not actually available in England. The Doodle is only available in Australia, and of course, India.
Bangaldesh are currently playing their 100th Test, Australia is getting ready to take on India in the third Test at Ranchi on Thursday, and 140 years later, contrary to many people’s beliefs, Test cricket is still alive and thriving.