The sport of cricket is a bat and ball competition involving two different sides of the pitch. Unsurprisingly, Test Cricket is the oldest and longest and is described by many as the "purest" format in the game. They are played between teams of national representation who have been specifically granted Test status by the International Council of cricket (ICC).
Although it is the purest format in the sport, there is often confusion as to how many overs can be played in Test cricket in any given session or day. Let’s find out!
In Test cricket, how many overs are bowled during the match?
A test match lasts over five days and usually consists of around 450 overs over the entire match. A match consists of four innings in which each team bats and bowls twice. The job of the team that bats first is to get as high a score as possible before giving it their all.
Bowlers are not allowed to bowl two overs in a row. Fast pitchers are especially lethal with new ball on the first day and are the ones who typically start or finish an inning. On a flat, grassy field, they are deadly and must be handled with care. On the other hand, on a dusty cornering field, the spinners attack early and try to get maximum spin off the track, which is extremely important on the final day of match when the track slows down significantly.
In test cricket, each inning is divided into overs. An over is defined as six consecutive legal pitches bowled by the same bowler. The field team the bowler represents has no fixed limit on the number of overs that must be bowled in any given innings. Innings will continue until all of the opponent's batters have been dismissed or until the batting team elects to declare the innings. Generally, a bowler cannot bowl more than 20 consecutive overs in an inning, as the limit is one hour.
A standard cricket test day consists of three sessions of two hours each, with a maximum break between sessions of 40 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for tea.
However, the times of these sessions and intervals can be changed in various circumstances: for example, if bad weather or a change of innings occurs shortly before a scheduled break, the break can be taken immediately.
If game time is lost due to bad weather, for example, session times may also be adjusted to make up for time lost due to unforeseen circumstances. The final session can also be extended up to 30 minutes if at least 90 overs are not played during the day.
While there is no set number, each of the three daily sessions is, as a general rule, close to 30 overs. A session may also be broken up into two or three small sessions, depending on when the referees request a drink break. The exact timing of these interruptions is not predetermined and varies from situation to situation.
Under ICC rules, teams are expected to average 15 overs per hour in Test matches. Fast bowlers generally take longer to bowl given their long delays, rest periods, and early delivery. Spinners are often used to compensate for slow overtakes when a referee notes a team captain whose team is way behind.