What is Boxing Day Test Match
What is Boxing Day Test Match

What is Boxing Day Test Match, History, Facts, More

One of the most eagerly awaited fixtures in the international cricket calendar is the Boxing Day Test Match. This famous Boxing Day Test match, which is played on December 26 every year, is now a much-loved custom, particularly in Australia.

The Boxing Day Test, which has a long history stretching back to 1950, is the climax of any cricket series due to its widespread interest and viewership. Its significance and fanfare in the cricket world are incalculable.

What is Boxing Day Test Match?

A Boxing Day Test match is a cricket match which plays on 26th December every year in Australia and other parts of the world like New Zealand and South Africa. Huge audiences attend the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) game every year.

This means that for a match between Australia and another International team to be considered a Boxing Day Test, it must take place in Melbourne on December 26. In essence, it’s the season’s biggest domestic cricket match in Australia.

The phrase “Boxing Day Test” refers only to Australia’s MCG fixture, even though other Test matches may take place on the same day in South Africa, New Zealand, or anywhere else. Owing to its unique public holiday schedule, festive atmosphere, and rich history, the Boxing Day Test is highly anticipated and a great privilege for visiting teams.

The Origin and Meaning of Boxing Day Test

Boxing Day’s Test Match origins may be traced back to England in the 1950s. It was customary for employers to give money presents, food boxes, or clothing to their employees and servants on this day.

The impoverished also received crates full of crumbs and leftovers from the nobles. Due to these kind deeds, Boxing Day became a holiday. It felt appropriate to celebrate the holiday with a cricket match as it was introduced to Australia as a result of British empire and Christmas customs.

Who played the First Ever Boxing Day Test Match?

Australia played England in their first-ever Boxing Day Test match, which began on Boxing Day, i.e, 26th December, in 1950. Thus, Australia’s enduring love of cricket and British holiday rituals gave rise to the “Boxing Day Test“.

From its beginnings as a customary event in Australia throughout the 1950s, the Boxing Day Test has grown into a legendary custom that attracts unprecedented attendance.

The energy at the MCG when spectators dress in “fancy dress” makes it an occasion not to be missed. For cricket aficionados, the moniker merely implies high-stakes Test cricket during the Christmas season.

Why Is It Called as Boxing Day Test Match?

One of a reason behind calling 26th December test match as a Boxing Day Test Match is because some people says that the date got its name because alarm boxes were traditionally opened in churches on the day.

Others state that servants were given gifts to work on Christmas Day on 26 December. Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa reserve the day for teams that visit them during the summer months of December, January, and February.

Australia Boxing Day Test – A Celebrated Tradition

Beyond merely a cricket match, Australia’s Boxing Day Test is an ingrained aspect of the country’s summertime traditions.Making the pilgrimage to the MCG on the first day of the long weekend after Christmas is a sacred tradition for families. Australians have treasured the Boxing Day Test for generations.

Beyond the die-hard cricket fans, it draws casual watchers who come for the ambience alone. Notable matches that have left a lasting impression on the public are the 1956 tie, 1981’s Ashes miracle, 2003 India’s final-day survival, Haddin’s Gabba-saving ton in 2013, and 2018 India’s MCG victory.

Such intense battles on the huge holiday stage have made the Boxing Day Test an indelible part of Australian tradition. The animated “Boxing Day crowd” keeps things lively even during slow play periods.

Here is where The Twelfth Man’s mocking song “Marvellous” made its 1965 debut. Australia’s summers would be completed without the Boxing Day spectacular, to put it simply.

Boxing Day Test Over the Years and in Other Countries

Although Australia’s Boxing Day spectacular has traditionally been held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the idea has lately garnered traction abroad. South Africa has been holding an unofficial “Boxing Day Test” on December 26th, every year since 1996.

In 2012, New Zealand conducted their first-ever Boxing Day Test in an attempt to boost their flagging cricket attendance. In 2021, England also held the first one. On the other hand, the Boxing Day Test has not gained much traction outside of the “Big Three” cricket nations. Still, nothing compares to the majesty and history of Australia’s series-defining matchup, even in other nations.

Looking back through the decades, particularly memorable Boxing Day encounters include the Tied Test in 1956, Thomson and Lillee destroying England in 74-75, Border battling courageously in 87-88, Warne’s magic in 94-95, and of course the Miracle in 81. Such matches have cemented an almost mythical nostalgia around Australian cricket’s most momentous occasion.

Highlights and Iconic Moments in Boxing Day Test Matches

Spanning over seven decades of play, iconic individual performances and famous team wins have illuminated Boxing Day Tests through history.

Some all-time memorable Boxing Day Test include:-

Memorable moments on the Boxing Day matches
Memorable moments on the Boxing Day matches
  • Doug Walters’ swashbuckling century chasing 320 in 1974,
  • Ian Botham’s cataclysmic 149* to snatch the miracles Ashes win in 1981,
  • Shane Warne’sball of the century” and seven wickets in 1994,
  • Justin Langer’s stirring 250 helping Australia hold on for a draw in 2002,
  • Ajit Agarkar’s blistering 6/41 in 2003,
  • Mitchell Johnson taking 9 wickets in the match during Australia’s Ashes whitewash in 2013, 
  • Virat Kohli resisting Australia for nearly 1,000 minutes across the 2014 and 2018 Boxing day Tests
  • Of course, who can forget the Tied Test in 1960 – arguably the most unique draw ever witnessed in Test history!
  • It was in 1985 when Australian veteran Steve Waugh made his Test debut and in 1988, West Indies fast bowler Malcolm Marshall took the 300th Test wicket of his career.
  • In 1994, spin wizard Shane Warne recorded a hat-trick against England and in 2006, again facing the English, took his 700th Test wicket.
  • It was also a witness to ugly incidents, such as in 1995 when umpire Darrell Hair No-balled the Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan seven times in three overs.
  • Pace ace Brett Lee also made his Test debut against India on Boxing Day in 1999. Taking five wickets in the first innings.
  • In 1989, the only Boxing Day ODI match was played between Australia and Sri Lanka.

Such extraordinary performances coupled with an iconic setting have repeatedly combined for once-in-a-lifetime sporting theater on Boxing Day.

Hype and Global Impact Boxing Day Test Matches

In today’s highly commercialized sporting scene, the Boxing Day Test remains untouched as a historical rather than money-driven event. It generates fanfare organically rather than from sponsors or gimmicks. Even overseas fans wake up early on December 26th just to catch a slice of the famous MCG atmosphere. 

The collective goodwill and competitive balance of Boxing Day tests fosters positive vibes all around. Win or lose, all players respect holiday tradition. Visiting teams also understand performing well earns eternal glory back home. Boxing Day tests also reveal the true temperament of visiting sides.

People who lose terribly tend to psychologically give up later, but brave warriors who persevere like VVS Laxman in 1999 or Cheteshwar Pujara in 2018 become heroes.

Stars like Brian Lara’s historic 153* or India’s historic victory in 2018 also leave their names permanently etched in MCG lore.Beyond the scores, the Boxing Day test ultimately represents Australia’s enduring athletic traditions and has a deeper cultural significance.

The Boxing Day Test’s Importance for Australians

The Boxing Day Test is Australia’s biggest yearly cricket match and has enormous cultural and historical significance. It brings an end to a year marked by intense expectation.

If players do well here, they will be inducted into Australian legend for ever. In addition to providing a platform for world-class cricket, the Boxing Day Test ignites national pride, upholds rich tradition, and officially ushers in the Australian cricket summer every year.

What Makes the Boxing Day Test So Special?

Beyond the world-class cricket itself, the Boxing Day Test offers a one-of-a-kind sporting experience. The festive party atmosphere, fancy dress costumes, enthusiastic singing, Melbourne city views and iconic 100,000-seat MCG venue make it exceptional.

Fans can enjoy interactive games, beach balls and a vibrant crowd experience between overs. Moreover, the Boxing Day Test occurs during a relaxed long weekend for most Australians – making it both an ideal family event and national summer tradition spanning generations.

2023 Boxing Day Test Matches

  1. India vs South Africa – 1st Test Match
  2. Pakistan vs Australia 2nd Test Match
Boxing Day Test Match
Boxing Day Test Match Schedule for 2023

History of Indian Cricket Team in Boxing Day Test matches

The Indian cricket team; played Australia for the first time in the Boxing Day Test in 1985. And have been regular visitors to the MCG since then.

India has been a part of Boxing Day matches eight times:- in 1985, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2018.

However, India has lost twice and drawn twice in eight Boxing Day Tests, with a lone win at the MCG in 2018. Where Virat Kohli’s men Cheteshwar Pujara’s century marked a stunning 137-run victory over the hosts.

Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Sachin Tendulkar. Has scored a 100 in Melbourne and these are the only Indians to do that.

Stats of Boxing Day Tests

Here are the stats of the matches held on that date check them out;

Boxing Day Test Matches Stats
Stats of boxing day matches between India and Australia

Commonly Asked Questions Related to Boxing Day Test Match

What is the Boxing Day Test match?

It is a cricket Test match held in Australia on December 26th every year.

When was the first Boxing Day Test match held?

The first Boxing Day Test was held in 1950 between Australia and England.

Why is it called the Boxing Day Test?

It is named after the Boxing Day holiday on December 26th.

Which countries play Boxing Day Tests?

Mainly Australia at the MCG, but also South Africa, New Zealand, and England.

Who has the best record in Boxing Day Tests?

Australia, having hosted nearly every match at their beloved MCG.

What makes the Boxing Day Test special?

The party atmosphere, costumes, singing crowds and iconic 100,000 seat MCG stadium.

When did India first play a Boxing Day Test?

India first played Australia in a Boxing Day Test in 1985.

How many times has India won a Boxing Day Test?

India has won only 1 Boxing Day Test, in 2018 against Australia.

Who are the only Indians to score a century in a Boxing Day Test?

Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Sachin Tendulkar.

Which players have taken the most wickets in Boxing Day Tests?

Shane Warne tops the list with 56, followed by Dennis Lillee with 42.

Final Words

Every year in Australia, the Boxing Day Test Match is still a very significant cultural event that unites cricket enthusiasts of all ages and showcases world-class cricket.

In addition to the historic matches and outstanding individual performances that have distinguished the Boxing Day Tests for more than 70 years, the famous MCG backdrop, history, and nostalgia make it an unbeatable fixture on the Australian sporting calendar.

The Boxing Day Test is a community-based and competitive event that is expected to live on for decades to come as a prestigious national institution. For more Cricket content like this visit our website Informative Gyan for more.

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