The annual Cricket Boxing Day Test kicks off on Thursday 26th December 2019 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – a pivotal event in the Australian sporting calendar each year. The raw passion and dedication cricket fans display on this day is unlike other test matches.
The History of the Cricket Boxing Day Test
The history of Boxing Day Test cricket at the MCG is one that stems back to the 1950’s, where the first international Boxing Day Test against England took place at the MCG on December 22. Although the tradition of a landmark match became a cyclical trend each December, the event gained exponential acclaim both domestically and internationally following Channel Nine’s acquisition of the broadcast rights to cricket in Australia in 1979. Attributing the match’s success to this factor, as well as the growing popularity of the sport among young people during this time the Boxing Day Test solidified its position within Australian sporting culture. The Boxing Day Test – now held each year on December 26th – is considered alongside many major sporting milestones in Melbourne’s yearly calendar, including the Melbourne Cup, AFL grand final and Australian Open.
The Culture of the Boxing Day Test
It is no coincidence that the Boxing Day Test is one of the most popular fixtures a sporting fan’s summer calendar. December 26th amongst Australians is generally considered a day to spend with family and friends following the more hectic build up to Christmas the day before. Most people are free of work commitments on the day and have little to do unless they’re braving the Boxing Day Sales.
The day has ingrained itself to be synonymous with cricket in Australia and many fair weather viewers tune in to the Boxing Day Test whether or not they are likely to watch test cricket elsewhere during the season.
The Boxing Day Test in 2019
This years Boxing Day Test will take place at the MCG when the local Australian team faces New Zealand. This cross-Tasman rivalry hasn’t taken place on Boxing Day for thirty-two years since, ensuring this iconic match is one that can not be missed for cricket fanatics and sporting fans alike.
The New Zealand team – dubbed the ‘Black Caps’ – will travel internationally to fight for with win, with fans expected to plan their 2019 Christmas activities and summer holidays around the match in Melbourne.