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Home Sports Cricket 10 Essential Test cricket rules you need to know now!

10 Essential Test cricket rules you need to know now![Updated]

Test Cricket Rules KreedOn
Credits: Getty Images

Here are the 10 Test cricket rules you need to understand the game…

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“Personally, I love watching all three forms and the many inherent qualities of Test cricket, especially the second chance it gives players, appeal greatly to me.”

  • Harsha Bhogle, in his article ‘Tests risk niche viewership.’

Test cricket is the best cricket- Cricketing legends have been saying this since ages. With the dying viewership to this absolute gem of a format, the generation is endangered to lose this game to 50-over format and the 20-over format. There has been a surge in the attempts to revive the game. But not all have been as fruitful.

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Here is a minuscule attempt to glorify the game’s longest format by listing the present-day test cricket rules, governing the longest format of the game.

The format

The game is allotted 5 days. Each day consists of three sessions (excluding pink ball cricket for the moment). Each session consists of 30 bowling overs.

First session: The first session is played before lunch.

Second session: It is played post-lunch and before tea

Third session: This session is played post-tea until the umpire declares ‘stumps’ which mean the end of the day’s play

If any session fails to meet the 30 over the requirement, an attempt to reduce the deficit of each overs in subsequent sessions is made, and the playtime may get extended.


Lead is a technical term in the language of test cricket, which indicates the run difference by which a team with a higher score is ahead than the opposition.


It is the literal opposite of lead. It indicates the no. of runs a batting team is behind than the no. of runs scored by the team that batted previously.


Credits BCCI

The captain can “declare” the innings and ask the opposition to bat as per his wish. There are two ways in which an inning can end in test cricket. One is bowled all-out and the other, declaration.


Before going further, let us make ourselves abreast with the concept of the follow-on.

The first necessary condition for a follow on is a lead on the first innings. “What kind of lead” is as follows:

  • In a test match of 5 or more days (consisting of two innings), the side which bat firsts and leads by at least 200 runs will have the option of imposing follow-on on the opposition, i.e. ask them to bat once again (which will make opposition team’s second inning)
  • If due to some reason, the test match ceases to be a 5-day match and the no. of play days get reduced, then follow on the margin of 200 will be changed to:
  1. 150 runs in case of a 3- or 4-days match
  2. 100 runs in case of a 2-days match
  3. 75 runs in case of a 1-day match

 The captain must notify his decision of follow-on to the opposite team captain and the umpires.

Modernizing the Test: The Decision Review System

The introduction of DRS in all formats of the game has given a fair chance to the teams in case of an umpiring error.

As for test format, each team will get two reviews every inning. In case a team feels, the umpire is wrong with his decision, the captain can opt for the review. But there is a catch!

If the review if for a catch, then there is a simple yes-no scenario. Either the umpire is right or wrong. The third umpire takes the review. The team loses the review if umpire decision is correct, and if not, the team retains the review.

But, there exists a concept of umpire’s call.

Test Cricket Rules: DRS | Credits: Cricket Australia

In the above pic, more than 50% area of the ball is not hitting the stumps. In such case, if a team opts for a review, then the third umpire will stay with the on-field umpires call. Same goes for Leg Before Wicket (LBW) scenario.

If the review turns out to be an umpire’s call, then the team which opted for the review will not lose it.

Test Cricket Rules for bowling

Credits Twitter

Each team will get a new ball at the start of every inning. After 80 overs have been bowled with the ball, the bowling team can ask for a new ball. The change of ball is notified to the batsmen by the umpires.

In case, the ball gets lost or disfigured before the quota of 80-overs, the umpires need to replace it with a ball which has comparable wear with the previous ball. No new ball will be allotted. Both the teams will be notified by the on-field umpires.

Tea and Lunch break

Credits: ICC

Break is as important as the game! It helps the players in regaining energy after a tiring session. The duration of tea-break is 20 minutes, and the duration of lunch is 40 minutes.

Types of defeat

In the above scorecard, we can see both teams, India and South Africa batted for two innings. The victory to India came after the team batted for two sessions.

In the 3rd test of the same series, the above scorecard shows the concept of an innings defeat. Innings defeat means the winning team batted only for one session and still managed to defeat the opposition.

World Test Championship

What is ICC World Test Championship?

ICC World Test Championship is an attempt to honour the longest format of the game and make it more interesting.

The championship began on August 1, 2019, with the commencement of the Ashes first test (Aug 1-5) between Australia and England at Edgbaston, England. The tournament consists of top 9 teams as on 31 March 2018 on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings.

When and where will it be played?

It will be played over a span of two years with different countries being the host. Basically, a context of ‘championship’ has been added to the normal bilateral test series between the two teams. The nine teams will feature in 27 series! The total number of matches beings played in WTC will be 71!

Who will be the champion?

The tournament will see each of the team playing against six possible opponents. There will be three home series and three away series. Each series will consist of two to five matches, the exact no. of matches have already been agreed by the teams prior to the start of WTC.

Each series, irrespective of the no. of matches being played, will carry 120 points. The individual match points will be equally divided. (For 5 match series-24 points/match, 4 match series-30 points/match, 3 match series-40 points/match, 2 match series-60 points/match). A tie will get 50% of match points to both the teams.

The final will be played in the UK in June 2021 between the top two teams in the ICC World Test Championship’s points table.

Standings as of October 27, 2019

Position Team Series Matches Played Won Draw Lost Tied Points
1 India 2 5 5 240
2 New Zealand 1 2 1 1 60
3 Sri Lanka 1 2 1 1 60
4 Australia 1 5 2 1 2 56
5 England 1 5 2 1 2 56
6 West Indies 1 2 2
7 South Africa 1 3 3
8 Bangladesh
9 Pakistan


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A cricket enthusiast- is best what describes me! While Dhoni is the monument of interest for me in this sport, it is Harsha Bhogle who inspires me to just write or speak. You can discuss with me about PUBG as well!



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