The first officially recognised Test match took place on 15–19 March 1877 and was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where Australia won by 45 runs. A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne on 12–17 March 1977, in which Australia beat England by 45 runs—the same margin as that first Test.
In October 2012, the ICC recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches. The first day/night game took place between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, on 27 November–1 December 2015.
Test matches are the highest level of cricket, although, statistically, their data forms part of first-class cricket. Matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council. As of June 2017, twelve national teams have Test status, the most recently promoted being Afghanistan and Ireland on 22 June 2017. Zimbabwe's Test status was voluntarily suspended, because of poor performances between 2006 and 2011; it returned to competition in August 2011.
In January 2014, during an ICC meeting in Dubai, the pathway for new potential Test nations was laid out with the winners of the next round of the ICC Intercontinental Cup playing a 5-day match against the bottom ranked Test nation. If the Associate team defeats the Test nation, then they could be added as the new Test country and granted full membership.
A list of matches, defined as "Tests", was first drawn up by Australian Clarence Moody in the mid-1890s. Representative matches played by simultaneous England touring sides of 1891–92 (in Australia and South Africa) and 1929–30 (in the West Indies and New Zealand) are deemed to have "Test status".