Cricket / What is a Boxing Day Test match in cricket?

Zoom News : Dec 25, 2020, 05:59 PM
Melbourne: Keeping aside the humiliating defeat in the first Test, Team India on Wednesday began their preparation for the second Test against Australia beginning Saturday (December 26). This is set to be the annual 'Boxing Day' Test match which is held on the date December 26 every year.

Here's all you need to know about the December 26 'Boxing Day' Test match:

Why is December 26 called 'Boxing Day'?

December 26, i.e. the day after Christmas, is celebrated as a holiday called 'Boxing Day' in the United Kingdom (UK) and several other Commonwealth nations, such as New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

It is a public holiday in most nations which formerly used to be a part of the erstwhile British Empire.

The exact origin of the name is unknown, although several theories state that it is derived from the ancient tradition (dating since the Middle Ages) of placing alms boxes in churches, whereby special offerings are collected and distributed to the poor. Therefore, to this date, it is customary in some localities to distribute alms boxes (also called "Christmas boxes") among the downtrodden.

Relationship with Sports

The event, which marks the second day of Christmastide, also coincides with special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, the patron saint of horses, due to which several sporting events are also held on this day.

In the UK, several top-tier football league matches are held in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland on Boxing Day -- including those in the Premier League.

In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, Test cricket matches are played on Boxing Day, with the first day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne being held on December 26 itself. Australia competes with another opposing national team. It begins annually on Boxing Day (26 December) and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The last Boxing Day Test match in 2019 was between Australia and New Zealand, whereby Australia won by 247 runs.

2020 Boxing Day Test Match

This time around, it is India that is touring Australia during the southern summer, and as such the two nations are scheduled to face each other on December 26 for the Boxing Day Test match.

On Wednesday, the official handle of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tweeted images of the team practising at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"We are in Melbourne and now as the red-ball Tests start, it is time to regroup," BCCI wrote along with the photographs.

They also put up a 28-second long video of batsman Shubman Gill training in the nets. "Easy on the eye. Nice and clean from Shubman Gill," BCCI wrote along with the video.

India suffered an emphatic eight-wicket loss in the first pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval, a match which saw the Indian team getting bundled out for mere 36 in their second innings - India's lowest Test inning total in history.

In the remaining three Tests, the visitors will be without the services of Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami. While Kohli has been granted paternity leave, Shami has suffered from a fracture in his forearm and subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the Test series.

In Kohli's absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side and will have an uphill task of making a comeback.