Cricket Listicles

List of International Cricket Teams with Test Status

Test cricket, as we all know, is the oldest format of the game, and it has been played by as many as 12 nations since its inception in the year 1877.

With a rich history of almost 150 years, the Test format remains the pinnacle of this gentleman’s sport of cricket to date as it embodies the ultimate “test” of skill, temperament, strategy, and grit. This is despite the advent of shorter formats (ODIs and T20Is) as the years progressed.

Traditionally, Test cricket is played under natural lights (i.e., during the day), but we have seen day-night Tests as well, much like the shorter versions of the game. As things stand, more than 2535+ tests have been played between these 12 countries.

Here in this piece, let us have an overview of how these 12 teams gained Test status.

Australia (15 March 1877)

Australia and England were the first teams to get Test status, and they have played each other several times until now, forming one of the most talked-about rivalries in the game of cricket.

Until 1877, there were amateur and professional Australian sides touring England and vice versa, but the first game that got international Test recognition was the one that happened at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 1877.

Hosts Australia won the game by 45 runs, with their opener, Charles Bannerman, becoming the first-ever batter to slam a Test century. Australia have since then been a dominant cricketing country, having topped the rankings charts in Tests multiple times and being the reigning World Test Champions.

England (15 March 1877)

England got their Test status in the same game as Australia and won their first red-ball contest in the very second match of the inaugural Test series played at the same venue (MCG).

Their rivalry is commonly dubbed “The Ashes,” with Australia having the upper hand over England. The first 30 Tests recorded in history were played among these 2 sides before South Africa joined the fray in 1889.

Known as the founders of cricket, England have played the most number of Tests. They have played against every other country in Tests apart from Afghanistan.

Also Read | The History behind the Ashes Cricket Series

South Africa (12 March 1889)

The Proteas became the third country to be granted Test status by the ICC, and their first-ever game was against England in March 1889 at St George’s Park, which they lost by 8 wickets. They played only 7 more Tests in the next 10 years, all against England, losing each of them.

South Africa played their maiden Test against Australia in 1902 and gained its first victory in their 12th Test at the Old Wanderers Stadium versus England. That was a 5-match series, and the hosts, South Africa, won by a margin of 4-1.

The African side featured in 172 Tests till 1970, before they were suspended from cricket until the status was given back in 1992.

West Indies (23 June 1928)

The fourth team to attain Test status was the men from the Caribbean, and they played as English colonies known as the West Indies in the early years (1930s). Their first series was the tour of England in 1928, which was won by the hosts 3-0 and was led by Karl Nunes in their first 4 Test matches.

The West Indies’ first Test match triumph came in the 1930 home series against the same opponents in a game held at Bourda, and their overseas win was against Australia at the SCG a year later.

The West Indies were a force to be reckoned with from 1970 to 1990, when they were almost invincible in all the formats of the game.

New Zealand (10 January 1930)

Cricket in New Zealand began in the late 1890s with the formation of the country’s first national team, and they toured Australia and England in the next 3 decades with seldom success. However, their good performances on their tour of England (1926/27), where they defeated several English county sides, saw them gain Test status.

Their first international Test tourney was the 4-match home series against England, which they lost 0-1. New Zealand had a poor beginning to their Test journey, as for the next 26 years and 44 Tests, they couldn’t secure a win in the red-ball format.

The black caps got their first taste of success in Tests against the West Indies at Eden Park in 1956, which was their 45th Test.

India (25 June 1932)

India became a Test-playing nation in 1932 with years of experience playing against English sides, and they faced England in their first Test at Lord’s, ending up on a losing side. While India faced England in its next 9 Tests over 14 years, their second-ever Test opponent was Australia when they embarked on a tour down under in 1947/48.

India’s first-ever Test win came in Chennai against England, almost 20 years after making their debut, and it was their 25th game. Since then, India have won hundreds of memorable matches. This includes a rare tied Test against Australia, and they are one of 3 sides to have featured in a tied Test game at the highest level.

Also Read | Elite List: Teams That Have Played 100 or More Tests Between Them

Pakistan (16 October 1952)

Pakistan, India’s near neighbour, made their Test debut in 1952, 5 years after both countries got independence. Coincidentally, Pakistan’s first game was against India in Delhi, which they eventually lost but won the second game of the 5-match series at Lucknow.

Their first overseas win came in England at the Kennington Oval, in only Pakistan’s second Test series. They have a decent track record in the longer format.

Sri Lanka (17 February 1982)

Sri Lanka made its Test debut in 1982 and was the eighth team to attain this status. But the island nation had the experience of playing top-level cricket, having participated in ODI World Cups.

Sri Lanka’s first assignment was against England in what was a one-off Test at Colombo, and they lost that game by 7 wickets. Their first win came at the same venue in their 14th Test game against India in 1985, and their first series win was in 1992 versus New Zealand at home.

Zimbabwe (18 October 1992)

Zimbabwe made their Test debut in 1992, and their first Test was against India at Harare, which was eventually a drawn affair. Their maiden Test win came against Pakistan in a 3-match series at home in 1995, while their first series win was against India (a one-off Test) in 1998 at the same venue.

Zimbabwe found it tough to withstand the rigours of Test cricket, as they lost more than they won against the top teams.

Bangladesh (10 November 2000)

The next side to make their foray into Test cricket was Bangladesh, and like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, they too had experience playing at the international level.

Playing their first Test against India at Dhaka, their journey has been similar to that of Zimbabwe when it comes to Tests, as they lost 31 of their first 34 games (drawing the other 3) before opening the account in their 35th game against Zimbabwe in 2005.

Though Bangladesh’s progress has not been smooth, the Asian country has managed to play significant Test matches, with the latter half of their journey being much better than the first half.

Ireland (11 May 2018) & Afghanistan (14 June 2018)

Both Ireland and Afghanistan got their Test status in 2018 after a long toil and progress made in the ICC Intercontinental Cup over the years. Afghanistan featured in their first game against India at Bangalore, while the European nation played their inaugural Test against Pakistan at Dublin.

Afghanistan got off the mark with their first Test victory coming against Ireland in 2019. Coincidentally, Ireland’s first Test win also came against Afghanistan in 2024.

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