Bransby Cooper's medallion: An even match
English teams began touring in Australia from 1861, usually invited by businessmen or cricket clubs hoping to turn a profit from the gate takings. In order to make the teams more even, and the matches more exciting, on most occasions an English XI met an Australian 18 or even 22.
In 1877 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an Australian XI, drawn from Victoria and New South Wales, met an English XI for the first time. In what is now regarded as the first Test match, the Australians won, beating the tourists by 45 runs. A regular Anglo-Australian competition and an international rivalry were born.
Right: Australasian Sketcher published this wood carving of Charles Bannerman and Tom Kendall after the first Test match in 1877. Bannerman and Kendall were instrumental in defeating the English side. Courtesy: State Library of Victoria.
In 1977, Australia and England played a Test match to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first ever Test match. Australia was victorious once more by 45 runs!
Right: The Queen talks to cricketers Dennis Lillee and Australian captain Greg Chappell at the Centenary Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, March 1977.
Australian batsman Rick McCosker (far right) wears bandages after being hit on the jaw by a fast ball on day one of the match. Courtesy: National Archives of Australia, A8746 KN30/3/77/216.