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MAIN / Cricket / How Many Sessions in Test Cricket: Original Cricket Essentials

With Test cricket, we’re looking at the traditional-most format of the game. Bearing a complex architecture and significantly long duration, test match cricket games are considered high standards. That being said, there are several test match game related queries that still confuse cricket lovers across the globe. One such involves the “three sessions” of test cricket that often baffle individuals. Eager to learn more about your favorite sport?

At Parimatch, we ensure the game’s love isn’t limited to viewing experiences. Instead, the same can be employed to secure handsome earnings. Like many other queries we’ve addressed so far, it is time to understand test cricket in a better way.

What Is Test Cricket?

Test cricket, just as the name portrays, is a game format that puts the players’ skills under the test. In test match cricket, two teams of 11 players face each other for five consecutive days. A winner is decided after testing the skills out in multiple sessions.

How Many Session in Test Cricket?

Generally, there are a total of 3 sessions per day, 15 across the entire 5-day match. Needless to say, the break between the sessions remains constant. The test match lunch break time sticks to 40 minutes, and the same for tea is 20 minutes.

You must know that the mentioned numbers are common for all standard test cricket games. So, a winner in test matches is decided after the participating teams battle in multiple sessions.

Cricket Test Match Origins

Now that we’ve got the basic query addressed let’s invest some time and uncover the origin of test cricket. We’ll dig deep and understand how the modern structure has influenced the overall existence. Not just that, we will try and walk through the factors that differentiate test cricket from its limited-overs counterparts.

In case you don’t know, studies suggest that the English team started playing cricket in the 18th century. But to date, there are no official documents for the same. To name the earliest international cricket match, we’ve got the clash between the United States and Canada. However, bad weather prevented the occurrence, scheduled on 24 and 26 September 1844.

Driving a few years ahead, it was 1877 when the first cricket test match was played. The encounter saw Australia going head to head against the England cricket team in Melbourne. The host ended up winning the game by 45 runs. The match witnessed the first-ever test century by Charles Bannerman, who played a fascinating knock of 165 runs. India test cricket debut took place on 25th June 1932, where they played England at Lords.

Since then, there has been no turning back. Test matches soon evolved as the skill-defining format primarily because of their structure. We’ll talk about the rules in a bit, but for the time being, let’s learn what are the key differences that make it unique.

One significant thing that makes test matches different is the duration. The outcomes of ODI/ T20I matches are set to reflect on the very day. On the other hand, test matches are played across 5 days. With limited overs cricket, the chances of getting a winner are fair. While the same for test cricket is less probable. Not just these, the rules, regulations, and overall structure also differ.

Day-Night Test Matches

The fact that modern-day upgrades seek modern alterations is no stranger to anyone. With test cricket games, the scenes are no different. Keeping the basics positioned in its place, the format has seen major changes. The addition of a day-night test match is a prime example of that.

Floodlit cricket was never a term associated with the test format until November 27, 2015. The date marked the occasion of the first day-night test cricket match encounter. New Zealand and Australia squared off at the maiden occurrence, and the love received across the globe was bewitching.

Well, to be honest, the response to day-night cricket was pre-assumed. Thankfully, the modernization lived up to the expectation, and day night test cricket is a real success.

Test Cricket Rules

Rules in test cricket are different and perplexing. There is no denying that even the experienced lad finds it hard to decode every aspect of the format. Do you consider yourself to be the same? If so, get ready to see an end to all the confusion.

  • Two teams of 11 players each participate.
  • Each team gets two opportunities to bat and bowl.
  • “5 days” is the term allowed for a regular test match time.
  • The prime objective is to score more runs than the opposition.
  • Winning Condition: The team that ends up having the more cumulative score (two innings) is declared the winner.
  • Draw Condition: When the team batting last fails to top the score, and the bowling team fails to bowl the opposition out.

Cricket Test Match Structure

Before anything else, keep in mind the basics for the test, and limited overs cricket remains the same. Two teams with 11 players each put their skills to action. What’s different, though, is the existing calculation or the path to reach the end goal.

Toss in Test Cricket

The cricketing action kicks off with the toss. Now whether you’re concerned about the test matches or the limited-overs game, toss abides by the same rule. It proceeds by flipping a coin that determines the team with initial authority. Talking about authority in this case, it is the decision of bowling or batting first. That’s basically how toss in test cricket works.

Test Matches Sessions

Modern-day ODI and T20 matches, respectively, feature 100 and 40 overs of action. Test matches on the flip end with 90 overs per day. Aiming for better optimization, these 90 overs of gameplay is sectioned into 3 sessions. They are popular by the terms morning, afternoon, and evening sessions respectively.

Breaks in a Test Game

In between 3 sessions, players get two breaks. While one goes by the name of lunch break, the other is scheduled tea break. Remember, the duration for both is usually 40 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively.

It might not sound to be so, but sessions and breaks do bag significant importance. They help to make the game more optimized and serve the structure requisites accordingly.

Number of Overs and the New Ball

As already mentioned, test match cricket involves a minimum of 90 overs. In case the weather permits, 90 must be the number of overs bowled in a day. The same has a usual orientation of 15 overs per hour.

When and if the team bats and gets bowled out, 2 overs get deducted from the day’s total. The same applies when a team declares the innings before the day’s play concludes.

Speaking of new ball provisions, the bowling team is allowed to opt for a new one after every 80 overs. It is important to note that the officials tend to perform a loop test whenever the ball’s condition deteriorates post-usage. When it fails to survive, the ball gets replaced by one with comparable quality.


DRS (Decision Review System) is an ability that aims at reconsidering the on-field umpire judgments. While the board, ICC formally introduced the system for limited overs cricket, the same made its way in test formats as well.

Previously each team was blessed with three unsuccessful DRS challenges. Eventually, the number got reduced to two per innings.

Follow On Rules

The uniqueness of test cricket revolves around a number of factors. The term “follow on” has its role to play in it. The classic test cricket follow on rule primarily involves batting. It states that in test cricket, any team batting second can be invited by the other team to bat again. It is possible only when they end up trailing by more than 200 or more runs.

Let’s understand the calculation with a simple example.

Suppose the team batting first reaches a score of 500. Batting second if the other team gets restricted to something less than 300, then the follow on feature activates.

The follow on decision is entirely subjective. Yes, whether the same gets enforced or not during the game depends on how the concerned captain wants to proceed.

Test Cricket Competitions

Just like any other format of the game, test cricket is home to a number of exciting tournaments. While there are usual tours awarding the perpetual trophies, international cricket events like World Championship Trophy are there to seal ultimate glory.

Here is a quick look at some noteworthy mentions that test cricket consists of:

  • The Ashes
  • Anthony de Mello Trophy
  • Frank Worrell Trophy
  • Wisden Trophy
  • Border Gavaskar Trophy
  • Pataudi Trophy

World Test Championship

Test cricket lacked a unified international event until the proposals for the World Cricket championship started making headlines in 2009. Finally, the speculations came into play, and maiden arrangements started for the 2019-21 season.

The competition marks a sequence where the test-playing nations face off in usual tour events. Over the course of the designated period, two teams sitting at the top will have the privilege of playing the decider, aka the final match.

New Zealand enjoys the position of current winners who defeated India back in 2021.

Test Cricket Ranking

Test-playing nations, based on their performances, are ranked. The same is authorized by ICC and is performed every year after a certain interval. While trophies and championships are honored, rankings are also rewarding. Here is what the current list looks like:

  1. Australia
  2. India
  3. New Zealand
  4. South Africa
  5. Pakistan
  6. England
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. West Indies
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Zimbabwe

Teams with Test Status

In case you don’t know, (International Cricket Council) ICC holds the authority to offer Test status to qualifying nations. Speaking of the current scenario, there are twelve men’s teams with the privilege of participating in international test matches. Here is what the list of national representative teams looks like:

  1. Australia (15 March 1877)
  2. England (15 March 1877)
  3. South Africa (12 March 1889)
  4. West Indies (23 June 1928)
  5. New Zealand (10 January 1930)
  6. India (25 June 1932)
  7. Pakistan (16 October 1952)
  8. Sri Lanka (17 February 1982)
  9. Zimbabwe (18 October 1992)
  10. Bangladesh (10 November 2000)
  11. Ireland (11 May 2018)
  12. Afghanistan (14 June 2018)

Wrapping Up

Are you done reading the whole piece? If yes, you already know what test cricket is all about. From the basic “how many sessions in test cricket” question to the rules and regulations, we’ve discussed everything down under.

Knowing about test cricket not only serves your expertise, but the same can help you win big. Yes, at Parimatch, we ensure your knowledge earns handsome in return. The betting tips we provide and the predictions we offer are enough to secure winnings. Visit our website for more tips and the latest test cricket score.

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For how many days is a test match scheduled?

Back in the day, test matches were played for 3 to 4 consecutive days. However, modern-day international test matches have a standard time frame that lasts up to five days.

How many overs in test match?

A typical test cricket game features 90 overs of gameplay each day. Getting the math right, the entire thing sums up to nearly 450 test match overs.

What is day and night test match?

Day and night test cricket reflects a modern alternation of the original format. These are the matches that are played in the evening under the floodlights.

What is first class cricket?

First-class cricket refers to the domestic circuit of any cricket-playing nation. No doubt, the existence is widespread, and the impact is majorly witnessed in India.

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