HomeCricketAll Important Test Cricket Match Rules

All Important Test Cricket Match Rules

Test cricket, the oldest and most traditional form of the game, holds a special place in the hearts of cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Unlike its shorter counterparts, Test matches are known for their rich history, strategic depth, and adherence to traditional rules.

In 1877, during an England tour in Australia, two matches were played against full Australian XIs, now considered the first Test matches. As of 2024, there are 12 nations that play Test cricket.

Over the years, the rules of Test cricket have evolved. Let’s check out some important Test match rules. 

Important Test Cricket Match Rules

Test matches are played over a maximum of five days, with each team having the opportunity to bat and bowl twice. Unlike limited-overs formats, Test cricket allows for a more extended examination of players’ skills and endurance. Each day typically consists of three sessions, with a break for lunch and tea.

In terms of overs, each team generally bowls a maximum of 90 overs in a day, although this can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and interruptions. This ensures a fair balance between batting and bowling opportunities for both teams.

Scoring in Test cricket is relatively straightforward. Runs are accumulated by running between the wickets or by hitting boundaries, which include fours (four runs) and sixes (six runs). Additionally, bonus runs may be awarded for various infractions by the fielding team, such as no-balls and wides.

Dismissals in Test cricket are varied and can occur in numerous ways. The most common forms of dismissal include being bowled (where the ball hits the stumps), caught (where the ball is caught by a fielder), lbw (leg before wicket), run out (where a fielder dislodges the bails while the batsman is out of their crease), and stumped (where the wicketkeeper removes the bails while the batsman is out of their crease and not attempting a run).

Read More: 10 Lowest Score in Test Cricket History

Test Match Follow-On Rules

The follow-on is a rule unique to Test cricket that allows the team batting second to be asked to bat again immediately after their first innings if the team batting first has a significant lead. To enforce the follow-on, the team batting first must have a lead of at least 200 runs.

The follow-on rule is primarily used to prevent drawn matches and to provide an advantage to the team that has performed better in the match so far. However, it is not mandatory for the team batting first to enforce the follow-on, and strategic considerations often come into play when making this decision.

Law 14.1.1 of the MCC states – In a two-innings match of 5 days or more, the side which bats first and leads by at least 200 runs shall have the option of requiring the other side to follow their innings.

The decision to enforce the follow-on is typically made by the captain of the team that batted first. This choice is based on the team’s advantageous position in the match. If the captain believes their team can secure a quicker victory by bowling out the opposition twice within the first innings total, they may opt for the follow-on.

Another important MCC law states that the lead can be reduced in certain circumstances. Law 14.1.3 says – If no play takes place on the first day of a match of more than one day’s duration, 14.1 shall apply in accordance with the number of days remaining from the start of play. The day on which play first commences shall count as a whole day for this purpose, irrespective of the time at which play starts.

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Test Match Draw Rules

A drawn Test match occurs when neither team is able to secure a victory within the allotted time frame. This can happen for various reasons, including inclement weather, resilient batting performances, or defensive bowling tactics.

In the event of a draw, each team receives a share of the points available for the match, which can have implications for series standings in tournaments such as the ICC World Test Championship. 

While a draw may not provide the thrill of a decisive result, it reflects the resilience and skill of both teams involved.

Other Important Test Match Rules

Beyond the fundamental rules of Test cricket, several other regulations govern the conduct of the game. Fielding restrictions dictate the placement of fielders on the field, with limitations on the number of fielders allowed in certain positions during specific phases of play.

Ball changes are permitted under specific circumstances, such as when the ball becomes damaged or loses its shape, affecting its performance. Umpires oversee the adherence to these rules and make decisions on the field, with the assistance of technologies like the Decision Review System (DRS) to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Further Read: What is Suspended Meaning in Cricket?


Understanding the rules of Test cricket is essential for players and fans alike.  The most important aspects of Test cricket are a drawn match and the follow-on. Knowing the rules of both helps understand Test cricket better. 

Test match is still considered to be the most important format in cricket as it puts the players to the sword and tests their skills. This is also a great format for fantasy players to pick their own team and take part in WinZO fantasy cricket matches.



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