Timeless Test

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A timeless Test is a match of Test cricket played under no limitation of time, which means the match is played until one side wins or the match is tied, with theoretically no possibility of a draw. The format means that it is not possible to play defensively for a draw when the allotted time runs out, and delays due to bad weather will not prevent the match ending with a positive result. It also means that there is far less reason for a side to declare an innings, since time pressure should not affect the chances of winning the game.

Although the format should guarantee a result, it was ultimately abandoned as it was impossible to predict with any certainty when a match would be finished, making scheduling and commercial aspects difficult. In the modern era teams often play back-to-back tests in consecutive weeks, something that would be impossible without the five-day limit.

The last ever timeless Test was the fifth Test between England and South Africa at Durban in 1939,[1] which was abandoned as a draw after nine days of play spread over twelve days, otherwise the England team would have missed the boat for home.[2] This match had started on 3 March. South Africa had set a target of 696 for England to win. By the time England had to leave to catch their boat home, on 14 March, England had reached 654 for 5 (the highest ever first-class fourth innings score).[3] This is the longest Test cricket match on record.

The ninth match of the 1912 Triangular Tournament, between England and Australia, was played as a Timeless Test.

The ICC was considering implementing a timeless test for the final of the ICC World Test Championship,[4] but the tournament was eventually cancelled.

See also


  1. ^ "England in South Africa Test Series – 5th Test". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Stalemate in the Timeless Test". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4. 
  4. ^ http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/current/story/523745.html

External links

  • England v South Africa, 5th Test 1939 – The last timeless Test from CricInfo
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