The term “Test match” was coined during the English tour of Australia in 1861/62. It indicated that the England team was testing itself against each Australian colony. Later it was adopted as an official term for the format. The first-ever official Test match occurred between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Two teams from England planned a tour to Australia. An amateur team led by Fred Grace, and a professional team led by James Lillywhite. The amateur tour was canceled, while Lillywhite went ahead with his team to Australia. The first Test was supposed to be held at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground but was later shifted to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Lillywhite led the professionals England team, while Dave Gregory was the Australian skipper.
England vs Australia, First-ever Test, 1877 squads
England: Harry Hupp, John Selby, Harry Charlwood, George Ulyett, Andrew Greenwood, Tom Armitage, Alfred Shaw, Tom Emmett, Allen Hill, James Lillywhite (C), James Southerton
Australia: Charles Bannerman, Nat Thomson, Tom Horan, Dave Gregory (C), Bransby Cooper, Billy Midwinter, Ned Gregory, Jack Blackham, Tom Garrett, Tom Kendall, John Hodges
Charles Bannerman’s historic feat
Australian skipper Dave Gregory won the toss and elected to bat. Charles Bannerman opened the innings with Nat Thomson. He faced the first-ever delivery in Test cricket, as England fast bowler Alfred Shaw ran into bowl. The visitors got an early breakthrough in the match, as Nat Thomson was dismissed for a run by Allen Hill. Australia was soon reduced to 41/3, with Tom Horan and Dave Gregory also back in the hut.
Charles Bannerman and Bransby Cooper put up a decent partnership before the latter was dismissed. However, Charles kept one end strong for Australia. He scored 165 runs off 285 deliveries, to become the first-ever cricketer to score a century in Test cricket. Australia managed 245 runs in the first innings, with Alfred Shaw and James Southerton taking a three-wicket haul each.
First five-wicket haul by Billy Midwinter
In response, England was bowled out for 196 runs. Opener Harry Jupp scored 63 runs, while Harry Charlwood and Allen Hill scored 36 and 35 runs each. Billy Midwinter was the pick of the bowlers in the innings, with five wickets. He became the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Australia took a lead of 49 runs in the first innings of the Test.
England tried to get back in the game as they bowled out the hosts for 104 runs. Alfred Shaw took a five-wicket haul, while George Ulyett took three wickets. Tom Horan was the leading run-scorer in the innings with 20 runs, while the rest of the attack faltered. England needed 154 runs to win the first-ever test match played.
Australia’s momentous win
Australia scripted a great win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against England in the first-ever test played. They won the match by 45 runs, bowling the visitors out for 108 runs. John Selby and George Ulyett tried to take England through, however, they failed in their efforts. Tom Kendall took a seven-wicket haul in the innings. The two teams played another test on the tour, where England emerged as winners by four wickets.
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