Multi-day test cricket matches may seem old-fashioned to some but they are still the heart of the sport for many fans. And although the sport has not caught on in a big way in the United States, fans here have great options for watching the game. Read on to learn how to watch it here and elsewhere!
In a hurry? Although ESPN+ does offer a decent selection of test cricket, Willow is the place for the biggest events. Sling TV is our top choice for streaming Willow TV.
Table Of Contents
Test cricket is a historic form of this sport with matchups that last for nearly a week and is not the version utilized at the Cricket World Cup, where One Day Internationals are used, and is not at all like Twenty20, the quick-paced version that has been increasing dramatically in popularity.
All three of those are popular, and there will always be a place for Test cricket. Plus, many believe that this version of the sport is the favorite form in some countries, such as England and Australia. In fact, that has a lot to do with how well-known the Ashes, which is contested between them, is.
There is also now a world championship competition in Test cricket: the World Test Championship. It lasts for two years at a time, and its inaugural edition commenced in 2019 with New Zealand winning it.
Major Test events captivate the public in and from the participating countries as they keep up to date on the action for several hours every day for up to five days. How can you watch Test cricket? It depends on where you are, but there are numerous television and streaming outlets that showcase Test matches.
How to Watch Test Cricket
Where you will find test cricket on TV will depend on where you live.
In the United States, Willow TV will generally be your resource for all things cricket-related, including Test events, such as the 2023 Ashes series, which is scheduled for June 16-July 31, and the 2023 World Test Championship final, which will be contested between Australia and India and be played in London from June 7-11.
ESPN+ ($9.99/mo or $99.99/yr) is another option for viewing Test cricket in the US as it owns the rights for matches played by numerous national teams.
Willow TV also features an extensive collection of Test cricket competitions for its Canadian subscribers. Other outlets that showcase these types of sports events here include Hotstar and the Asian Television Network.
Sky Sports is where those in the United Kingdom who want to watch major Test cricket matches go. BT Sport and Viaplay also provide regular coverage of this version of the sport.
Those in the Republic of Ireland need to head to BT Sport and Premier Sports to watch Test cricket.
Aussies should secure access to Seven Network, Nine Network, and Fox Cricket to view these matchups.
TVNZ and Sky Sport are the New Zealand-based networks showing Test cricket here from July 2023-on. Spark Sport will no longer feature cricket at that time.
Streaming Test Cricket
As discussed above, fans of test cricket will want to get Willow TV. You can get it and its subchannel Willow Xtra with the Willow streaming service itself, which costs $9.99/mo or $69.99/yr.
Willow on Sling TV
We recommend getting the Willow channels through Sling TV, however. First, it has deals that make it cheaper. Generally, you can get your first month for just $7/mo or a whole year for $60.
But the main reason to choose Sling TV is that it offers so many options. Here are the main ones:
- World Sports ($10/mo): Includes Willow, Willow Xtra, all the beIN Sports channels, and Premiere.
- Sling Orange + World Sports ($40/mo + $5/mo): Includes all the World Sports channels above along with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TBS, IFC, Lifetime, BET, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, History, TNT, and more.
Sling also provides many other options for channels. In fact, it is by far the most customizable streaming service. You can choose from six channel packages as well as dozens of channel-specific add-ons.
The plan also comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. You can upgrade this for a bit more money.
You will not be able to watch the biggest test cricket matches on ESPN+, but you will get to watch a fair amount of action. And it’s a great streaming service for fans. And for just $9.99/mo, it’s hard not to add to your collection.
Overview of Test Cricket
The first Test cricket match was played in 1877, featuring host Australia taking on England in Melbourne. However, these types of matchups early on were not labeled as such — they were not called “Test matches” — and the teams that played in them were not defined as national squads. Those descriptors were applied retroactively years later.
Cricket is a game that is similar to baseball but notably different. It features two eleven-player squads. It is played on a grass field with a rectangular pitch. One team bowls and fields while the other is at bat.
Runs are scored by hitting the ball and running between wickets (the three vertical stumps at each end of the pitch). Batsmen can get out by the bowler hitting the wickets or causing the ball to be caught.
Test matches consist of four innings. Those new to cricket should note that “innings” means something different in cricket versus in baseball. If you are thinking of the baseball version of “innings,” consider that Test matches have double as many since cricket’s definition of an “inning” is essentially the same as baseball’s “half-inning.”
Like baseball, one way that a match is complete occurs when the team batting second would otherwise be taking its final turns in its last inning but already has the lead. In other words, it would simply be adding on to its lead as it has already won, like a baseball team batting in the bottom of the ninth despite leading.
A similar situation occurs when the team batting last takes the lead at that time. That would be like a walk-off win in baseball.
Note that ties can occur in test cricket, but they are rare considering the high run totals that are generally posted.
One thing to keep in mind is that if the team that is batting second is trailing by a significant amount after its first inning, generally by at least 200 runs, its opponent can enforce a follow-on, which would cause its second inning of batting to occur immediately, possibly putting a relatively quick end to the matchup.
Also, if the time that has been allotted for the Test match expires with no result having been reached, it is declared as a draw. That is one of the reasons why a follow-on is often enforced by the leading team as a draw is declared in this scenario regardless of how many runs a team is leading by.
Abandonments and forfeits are possible as well. The former usually happens if the ground has been deemed not in good enough shape to play on while the latter generally occurs if a team fails to show up.
Test cricket is a days-long affair, scheduled for up to five, with six hours of play spread over nearly eight hours on each of them. That length is much of its charm for some although it has been argued that its length also harms its ability to attract new fans, many of whom are preferring ODIs and T20s over Test.
Just 12 countries have been designated as having Test status, meaning that they are the only ones that are allowed to play Test matches. This number was seven when Pakistan joined India, New Zealand, the West Indies, South Africa, England, and Australia in 1952. The ones that followed are Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992), Bangladesh (2000), Ireland (2018), and Afghanistan (2018).
Note that England, despite its name, also represents Wales. Meanwhile, players from Northern Ireland are eligible to join the Irish squad. The West Indies is the only one of these that consists of multiple countries and territories, 15 in total. They are all in the Caribbean with the exception of Guyana; the South American country is adjacent to that body of water.
The International Cricket Council, this sport’s global governing body, regularly publishes worldwide rankings of national cricket teams, including ones specific to Test. On May 2, 2023, India topped the list, followed by Australia, England, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Major Test Cricket Events
Several Test cricket matchups result in a perpetual trophy being awarded to the winner.
Note that these are generally not the result of one up-to-five-day meeting. For example, the 2023 Ashes series has been scheduled for five such Test matches, taking place with just a few days rest between them, from June 16-20, June 28-July 2, July 6-10, July 19-23, and July 27-31. All are being played on grounds in England.
The Ashes is the most known of Test cricket’s perpetual trophies. It dates to an 1882 match between the English and Australian teams. It was hosted by the former country in London’s The Oval, one of cricket’s hallowed grounds.
This competition’s name came from an article that was published in The Sporting Times soon after, in which a writer wrote a mock obituary for the losing England team, stating that cremation will occur with the ashes being sent to Australia.
The teams play every few years, most recently in 2023, 2021-22, 2019, 2017-18, and 2015. The Aussies have had control of this trophy since the last England win, which occurred during the 2015 series.
The Ashes is a series of matches even though each match spans several days. For example, in the 2021-22 event, Australia won the first Test, second Test, and third Test. The fourth Test was a draw. And Australia won the fifth Test.
Anthony de Mello Trophy / Pataudi Trophy
A pair of connected perpetual trophies are the Anthony de Mello and Pataudi Trophies. They feature the same matchup: India versus England. The difference is that when India hosts this matchup, they play for the former trophy; when England does, the latter one is contested.
Both trophies were on the line in 2021. India won at home while the teams drew in England with each team winning twice after a draw opened that series of matchups. England kept the Pataudi Trophy after having claimed their last meeting in that country in 2018.
Frank Worrell Trophy
Another historic perpetual trophy is the Frank Worrell Trophy. It features matchups between Australia and the West Indies and dates to 1960-61, when the teams played five Test matches, each hosted by the Aussies, who won two of the three that did not end in draws.
Although the West Indies had a long run of dominance from 1977-93, which included it being the world’s top-ranked side, Australia has held this trophy ever since taking it back with two wins, a loss, and a draw in its visit to the West Indies in 1995. That was the host’s first Test series loss in 15 years.
World Test Championship
There is no World Cup for Test cricket, and the Cricket World Cup features One Day Internationals. However, a relatively new event has provided the means for declaring a world champion in the Test version of this sport: the World Test Championship. Its first edition commenced in 2019, and it lasted until 2021. The intent is to continue this format through at least its 2029-31 edition.
This is not a single event that is being played over a few days or even months. It is more of a league-type format that is contested over years, but note that its schedule is unbalanced. For example, some teams play 12 times while the most matchups that any country takes part in is 22. As a result, a percentage-based formula decides the title matchup participants.
Another important note is that not all 12 Test countries participate. Afghanistan, Ireland, and Zimbabwe, the lowest-ranked sides of that dozen, have not taken part in any of the World Test Championships.
This competition takes into account various matchups that in many cases would have already been scheduled even if it did not exist, such as the Ashes, and incorporates those results into its standings.
The 2023-25 edition is scheduled to commence with the Ashes between England and Australia, which starts on June 16, 2023, in Birmingham, England. In fact, that occurs less than a week after the 2021-23 one wraps up with a final between Australia and India, to be played at The Oval in London from June 7-11.
Willow Schedule for World Test Championship
- Wed Jun 7 : Day 1
- Thu Jun 8 : Day 2
- Fri Jun 9 : Day 3
- Sat Jun 10 : Day 4
- Sun Jun 11 : Day 5
2023 Test Cricket Schedule
- February 2023
- Australia Tour of India
- England Tour of New Zealand
- Test Indies Tour of South Africa
- West Indies Tour of Zimbabwe
- West Indies Tour of South Africa
- March 2023
- Ireland Tour of Bangladesh
- Sri Lanka Tour of New Zealand
- April 2023
- Ireland Tour of Sri Lanka
- June 2023
- ICC World Test Championship
- Ireland Tour of England Test Match
- Afghanistan Tour of Bangladesh Test Match
- The Ashes
- Women’s Ashes
- December 2023
- South Africa Tour of Australia
- Pakistan Tour of Australia
- January 2024
- West Indies Tour of Australia
2023-2024 West Indies, South Africa, and Pakistan Tour of Australia schedule
(Time in ET)
- Women’s CommBank T20I Series v West Indies
- Sat Sep 30 : North Sydney Oval
- Mon Oct 2 : North Sydney Oval
- Thu Oct 5 : Allan Border Field, Brisbane
- Women’s CommBank ODI Series v West Indies
- Sat Oct 7 : Allan Border Field, Brisbane
- Wed Oct 11 : Junction Oval, Melbourne
- Sat Oct 14 : Junction Oval, Melbourne
- Women’s CommBank T20I Series v South Africa
- Fri Jan 26 : Manuka Oval, Canberra
- Sat Jan 27 : Manuka Oval, Canberra
- Sun Jan 29 : Blundstone Arena, Hobart
- Women’s CommBank ODI Series v South Africa
- Sat Feb 3 : Adelaide Oval
- Thu Feb 7 : North Sydney Oval
- Sun Feb 10 : North Sydney Oval
- Women’s CommBank Test Match v South Africa
- Wed-Thu Feb 14-17 : Only Test, WACA Ground, Perth
- Men’s NRMA Insurance Test Series v Pakistan
- Wed-Sun Dec 13-17 : First Test, Perth Stadium
- Mon-Fri Dec 25-29 : Second Test, MCG
- Tue-Sat Jan 2-6 : Third Test, SCG
- Men’s NRMA Insurance Test Series v West Indies
- Mon-Sat Jan 15-20 : First Test, Adelaide Oval
- Wed-Sun Jan 24-28 : Second Test, Gabba
- Men’s Dettol ODI Series v West Indies
- Fri Feb 2 : MCG
- Sun Feb 4 : SCG
- Tue Feb 6 : Manuka Oval, Canberra
- Men’s Dettol T20I Series v West Indies
- Fri Feb 9 : Blundstone Arena, Hobart
- Sun Feb 11 : Adelaide Oval
- Tue Feb 13 : Perth Stadium
Test cricket is something that often causes mass interest within the countries taking part. If you are in one of those places and want to join in on that shared experience or if you are not and would like to get a feel of it from abroad, make sure to secure broadcasting or streaming access.
In nations with a high level of interest in the sport or a significant number of immigrants from cricket-loving countries who brought that passion to their new home, this should be relatively easy to do.
What does “Test status” mean?
“Test status” is a term that refers to the 12 countries that are allowed to schedule Test matches with one another. That list includes Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and Zimbabwe. The most recent addition was Afghanistan, which occurred in 2018.
Where did Test cricket get its name?
The “Test” in Test cricket was added to recognize the test that the players and teams take in these matches, considering both the challenge of competing with the opposition and going through the grueling process of playing for so many hours on five consecutive days.
Is there a Test Cricket World Cup?
There is no Test Cricket World Cup. The closest competition to that is the World Test Championship, which lasts for two years and culminates with the top two finishers in the league table advancing to the final, which is played at The Oval in London.
The Cricket World Cup features the One Day International version of the sport.
What do the colors of cricket balls mean?
The colors of cricket balls don’t really mean anything. Originally, red balls were used for matches. As a result, they are still normally used for test matches. When matches take place during evening hours, pink balls are often substituted because of their greater visibility. For the same reasons, white balls are standard for ODI and T20 matches.
How do cricket positions compare to those in baseball?
There is only one offensive position in either game but in cricket, it is batsman and in in baseball, batter. Defensive positions are generally less specialized in cricket than those in baseball. Here is an overview:
- Bowler: pitcher
- Wicketkeeper: catcher
- Fielders: basemen, shortstop, and out-fielders.
What we the results of the 2023 Ashes series?
The Men’s Ashes resulted in a win for England:
- First Test: Friday, June 16 — Tuesday, June 20 — England vs Australia
- Second Test: Wednesday, June 28 — Sunday, July 2 — Australia vs England
- Third Test: Thursday, July 6 — Monday, July 10 — Australia vs England
- Fourth Test: Wednesday, July 19 — Sunday, July 23 — England vs Australia
- Fifth Test: Thursday, July 27 — Monday, July 31 — England vs Australia
The Women’s Ashes saw Australia victorious:
- Thursday, June 22 — Monday, June 26 — Australia vs England
How can I watch other kinds of cricket?
We have written a number of guides on watching different kinds of cricket events and leagues. And we are working on even more:
- General Cricket Guide (Sling TV Guide)
- Test Cricket
- ODI Men’s World Cup
- ODI Women’s World Cup
- T20 Men’s World Cup
- T20 Women’s World Cup (Sling TV Guide)
- Indian Premier League (IPL)
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