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). The two teams of 11 players play a four-innings match, which nowadays lasts up to five days. It is generally considered the most complete examination of teams' playing ability and endurance. The origin of the name Test stems from the long, gruelling match being a "test" of the relative strength of the two sides.
The first officially recognised Test match began on 15 March 1877, between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where Australia won by 45 runs. A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne from 12 to 17 March 1977, in which Australia beat England by 45 runs—the same margin as that first Test.
In October 2012, the International Cricket Council recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches.
Test cricket playing teams
There are currently ten Test-playing teams, representing individual nations except for England and the West Indies. Test status is conferred upon a country or group of countries by the International Cricket Council. Teams that do not have Test status can play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, specifically designed to allow non-Test teams to play under conditions similar to Tests. The teams are listed below with the date of each team's Test debut:
|Order||Team||Date of first Test Match||Number of matches before first win||Notes|
|1||England||15 March 1877||1||At the time represented all of Britain, but now officially represents England and Wales.|
|2||Australia||15 March 1877||0|
|3||South Africa||12 March 1889||11||Did not participate in international cricket between 10 March 1970 and 10 November 1991 after the International Cricket Conference suspended South Africa in response to the South African Government's policy of apartheid.|
|4||West Indies||23 June 1928||5||Consists of players from 10 Caribbean nations and 5 dependencies.|
|5||New Zealand||10 January 1930||42|
|6||India||25 June 1932||24||Before partition of India in 1947, included territory that now forms Pakistan and Bangladesh.|
|7||Pakistan||16 October 1952||1||Before Bangladeshi independence in 1971, included territory that is now Bangladesh.|
|8||Sri Lanka||17 February 1982||13|
|9||Zimbabwe||18 October 1992||10||Voluntarily suspended from Test cricket between 10 June 2004 and 6 January 2005, and from 18 January 2006 until 3 August 2011|
|10||Bangladesh||10 November 2000||34|
Ireland has stated its intention to apply for Full Membership of the ICC with the aim of achieving Test status.