Test cricket is the oldest form of cricket and also the longest. The longest test match was between South Africa and England back in 1939 which was abandoned for a draw after nine days of play and spread over twelve days. The result was a draw because the English had to leave otherwise they would have missed the boat for home.
Fortunately, test cricket is now limited to five days but what do crowds think about test cricket in each of the test playing nations?
With the introduction of IPL in India, Test cricket has lost its flavour to the crowds. Mumbai was once regarded as the nursery of Indian cricket producing cricket greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar struggles to get significant crowds. However the tastes are different in Southern centres like Chennai and Bangalore
One of the two countries on the list which now record more sold seats than it did is England. Test cricket is well attended throughout the five days. The Ashes continues to be one of the most attended sporting events in the world in terms of seats sold.
Test cricket in Australia has held a significant place over limited overs in terms of attendance. The annual Boxing Day test at the MCG has not had crowds of less than 60 000 in the past six years. The peak was in 2013 when the Ashes against England drew 91 112 fans.
South Africa draws reasonable attendances at test matches. However, two venues stand out, Newlands in Cape Town and SuperSport Park at Centurion which attract near capacity and usually sell out for day one. The annual Boxing Day Test and New Year Test is well attended, however, Durban and Port Elizabeth have not been enjoying the same numbers.
New Zealand draws reasonable attendances at Test Matches. Crowds do appear to be on the decline though. One of the worst attendances in recent times was in 2017 when only 7000 fans in total attended the first test against the Windies.
The biggest decline seen has been in the West Indies. Venues have struggled to have a single sold out crowd while the Twenty20 Caribbean League enjoys much more success. One might point out the difference in crowds is in the discrepancy in the Windies performance in T20 and their performance or lack there of in Test matches.
Test cricket attracts reasonable crowds in Fatullah, Chittagong and Khulna. This is however not the same in Dhaka where test cricket is on a sharp decline with limited overs drawing full houses.
The other nations
The countries in this category have all suffered the same fate. Limited overs have out grown test matches by some margin. Pakistan has had only 54 people, yes 54 people, attended a test series opener vs England. Sri Lanka has had matches in front of empty stands even against powerhouses like India. Zimbabwe has struggled to play as many test matches as other test playing nations which are poorly attended in Harare and Bulawayo. If decisive measures are not put in these nations it might be safe of say the future of test cricket in these countries is non-existent.