A five-day test match with two innings each side is scheduled. Each session is made out of 30 overs. The first session will take place before lunch, while the second will take place after lunch and before the tea break. The third session begins after tea and continues until the umpire proclaims the end of the day's play. The final two days are similar to the first three.
In addition to the main match, there will be several other games played during the test match. These include one-day matches, which are limited to a maximum of 100 runs per side; and twenty-five over games, which are limited to a maximum of 50 runs per side. There will also be two tie-breakers if all five days are needed to resolve the match: the first is a maximum of five eight-ball overs per side, the second is a single extra over added to the thirty-over limit if time remains after the conclusion of the main game.
The playing conditions for each game are determined by the captains prior to the start of the match. They can opt to have sunny or cloudy weather, temperature in the range 5°C to 40°C, a relative humidity between 20% and 80%, and either grass or dirt as the surface.
There is a match referee who is responsible for resolving disputes between teams or players.
A typical day of Test cricket consists of three two-hour sessions, with a 40-minute lunch break and a 20-minute tea break in between. This means that a test match will usually last five days including one overnight stopover.
The number of sessions played in a test match is limited only by the amount of time taken by each hour's play. A single test match could therefore have as many as 24 sessions.
In practice, however, more often than not, each session ends with at least one ball remaining, which means that a test match can never end before the scheduled start time of Day 1.
The duration of a test match is also limited by the fact that the teams need to be given rest periods during which they cannot play alternative sides. Thus, a test match can never last longer than five days including one overnight stopover.
Test matches are now played following a set of rules that have been agreed upon by the boards of the opposing countries. These are quite standardised. The daylight hours are set as six hours of play time, however a least of 90 six-ball overs must be bowled, and the third session may run late if the over rate has been slower than this. A maximum of 120 balls can be bowled in an hour, so two full sessions plus any possible extras make up a test match.
In order to keep things fair for all the teams involved, the format also includes a number of restrictions. For example, no team can win an innings outright - they must always follow it up with the losing side's score. There are also limits on how many runs a player can score (150) or concede (50). Finally, a test match cannot last longer than five days. If it does, the top two nations by record vote to decide the winner.
When Australia toured England in August 2018, the two sides had never met on English soil before. It was also their first test match since the 2017-18 season ended the previous month, so both teams were looking to get back into form ahead of the new year. Australia won the toss and decided to bat, scoring 462/8 declared. Joe Burns was the highest scorer with 158, while Alex Carey took 3/74 from 20 overs. James Pattinson took 2/29 from his three overs as England crashed to defeat by an innings and 226 runs.
Test cricket is the longest form of the game, with the longest match duration. Test matches are regarded as the pinnacle of cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has presently granted test status to 12 men's teams. The format, well, it's the format. Tests were originally played during British summer months when temperatures could reach 50 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Today, tests are usually played in cooler climates where conditions are more suitable for cricket.
A test match is divided into several sessions called "innings". Each inning lasts three hours with an hour's break between them. The number of runs scored by each team is kept separately throughout the test match and at the end of the game who has scored more wins it.
In test matches, any one of the 11 players can be awarded the captain's armband. The person appointed as captain leads the team in their first test match and then has the option of replacing him/herself with another player. If a replacement is not chosen within 24 hours of the original captain being removed from the field, then the president of the ICC will appoint a new captain. A player can also voluntarily give up the armband if they so wish; this does not affect any legal obligations they may have towards the team.
Test cricket was developed by Walter Wisden in 1877. He proposed the idea while working as secretary of the MCC.