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15th March 1877: Test Cricket Gets Off the Mark

On this day in 1877, Australia and England played the first-ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The fixture was awarded Test status later, it was billed to be an “All England v A Combined New South Wales and Victoria XI” contest.

The Kent-born Charles Bannerman faced the first ball from England’s Alfred Shaw and scored the very first run, off the next ball, and went onto to register the first hundred as well.

He scored 67.3 per cent of Australia’s 245 in his 165, which is still a record. England replied with 196 to which Australia gave them a target of 153 after being bowled out for 104. England eventually lost the game by 45 runs.

England came back in the second Test to level the two-match series 1-1.

What is interesting is that Australia beat England by exactly the same margin in the Centenary Test, which was arranged to celebrate this inaugural match, 100 years later. Funny old game, cricket.

 

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