What is the Boxing Day Test? Why Does it Start on 26th December?

boxing day test

Boxing Day Test matches commence on December 26, after Christmas Day. The first occurrence of a Boxing Day Test beginning on the 26th of December was in 1980.

Vishal Singh Dec. 26, 2023

While Christmas has just passed away, cricket fever is already brewing in India, South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan. December 26th marks the annual Boxing Day Test matches, and these countries are ready to face off in exciting Test series:

India vs. South Africa: Two cricketing giants kick off a two-match Test series on Boxing Day.

Australia vs. Pakistan: The second Test of their three-match series promises fiery action.

But what exactly is the Boxing Day Test?

Boxing Day Test: Cricket & Tradition

Played annually on December 26th, the Boxing Day Test is a Test match steeped in tradition. While usually hosted at the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia, other cricketing nations like South Africa and New Zealand also celebrate this tradition with matches on the same day.

Unwrapping the Origins of Boxing Day

The day itself, Boxing Day, holds its own historical significance. Celebrated in places with Commonwealth roots, it is believed to have two potential origins:

  • Servant Gift-Giving: Under Queen Victoria's reign, servants reportedly received "Christmas Boxes" of gifts from their masters on December 26th, giving rise to the name "Boxing Day."
  • Church Alms Boxes: Another theory points to English churches opening donation boxes for the poor after Christmas, further solidifying the association with December 26th.

A Cricketing Legacy Begins:

The Boxing Day Test's cricketing journey traces back to 1892 when Melbourne hosted a Sheffield Shield match. The first international Boxing Day Test at the MCG, however, occurred in 1950 between England and Australia, starting on December 22nd and resuming on Boxing Day.

Australia has taken ownership of the tradition since 1980, with the Test consistently starting on December 26th, barring a few exceptions. Now, the Boxing Day Test stands as a cherished cricketing event, not just in Australia but across the cricketing world.

So, as December 26th approaches, get ready for some thrilling clashes, captivating performances, and a celebration of cricket and tradition!