From football in America to ice hockey in Canada and Europe, team sporting events have become a major part of festivities on the day after Christmas. In the Commonwealth countries of the old British Empire, the sport dejeur of Boxing Day is Cricket. The most famous of these Christmas cricket matchups, and the world’s largest annual Christmas sports event in terms of attendance, is the Boxing Day Test game in Melbourne, Australia.
Cricket is one of the world’s oldest sports. It has been traced back to 17th century England, and is probably much older. By the the time the colonial era was in full swing cricket was the unofficial pasttime of the British Empire. Major teams emerged in England and later throughout the British Empire, spurring national and international competitions across the globe.
Cricket arrived in Australia in the 1800s, and its popularity there has been among the highest of any country in the world. In 1877, a team from England went to Australia to play in the empire’s first Test Match. These marathon cricket games became a semi-regular occurrence in Melbourne beginning in 1950, when they were inauguratedunder the moniker of the Boxing Day Test Match. They have been a permanent annual event since 1980. Over the last six decades, Australia has played teams from England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies and New Zealand, with as many as one hundred thousand in atendance for the annual Christmas event.
The Boxing Day Test takes place every December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia. In 2010 Australia lost to its major rival from England. Web: www.mcg.org.au (official website of the Melbourne Cricket Ground).