|December 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30|
|Melbourne Cricket Ground in Victoria, Australia|
|Who plays in it:|
|Australia and whichever Test team is touring the country at Christmas time|
THE Boxing Day Test is without doubt the number one cricket event on the Australian summer calendar.
Played on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it has become an Aussie tradition that dates back to 1950.
While it was next played in 1952, there was not another MCG Test after Christmas until the West Indies visited in 1968. The next one was a draw with the Brits in 1974 and a win over the Windies in ’75 that sparked a hiatus until 1980, when the Australian Cricket Board and the Melbourne Cricket Club sealed a deal to have an annual tilt at the ground.
A run of nine straight years ended when there was no Test in 1989, with the Aussies playing a Boxing Day One Day International against the Sri Lankas. Since then, there has been a Boxing Day Test every year.
And with the tradition of watching the first day of the Boxing Day Test comes the opportunity to lay a bet or two on your Aussies or, if you’re unpatriotic, the nation that is visiting at the time.
Next up is the 2017-18 Ashes clash with England – one of the great fixtures in world cricket.
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Boxing Day Test freebets and online bookmaker promotions
The bookies above are all but guaranteed to offer something a little extra on the Boxing Day Test.
Promotions on big sporting events have become more and more popular in the punting world and, while they are used as a way to rope people into joining an online bookmaker, they are also a great way to enhance your betting experience.
Cricket bookies will often provide different specials and bonuses on the Boxing Day Test. Popular variants include:
– Cash back if the team you backed ends up losing after taking a lead in the first innings
– Cash back if your player scores a century yet is not the top scorer in the innings
– Enhanced odds on the Test match result in the lead-up to the game
These kinds of specials can take your betting experience from good to great. It is nice to have a little insurance on your bets and, as the old saying goes, breaking even is as good as a win on the punt. Getting your money back, even if it is in the form of bonus bets, is a great way to both cut your losses and also give you a little something to reinvest. Always do your research into bookie promotions and make yourself familiar with the terms and conditions.
Popular Boxing Day Test betting markets
Win Draw Win markets: This is the basic Boxing Day Test betting market. It is simple – pick the end result. Whether the Australians will win, the visiting team will emerge victorious, or there will be nothing splitting the two teams at the end, you need to decide what will happen. If you get it right, you are in the money.
Highest opening partnership: There are only two options on this one – Australia or the team they are playing against on Boxing Day. It centres around the opening pairs for each nation. You have to decide which country will make more runs before losing their first wicket. The Aussies have a daunting record in this category, with the likes of Warner and company, but that does not mean you can’t consider the visitors in this one.
Top runscorer: This is easy. You have to pick the player who makes the most runs. The market will usually be for the first innings and will be divided into each team, so you don’t have to wait until both innings are complete to collect your cash. It pays out on whomever makes the most runs for their country in the innings.
Top wicket-taker: Similar to top runscorer, but for the bowlers instead of the batsmen. You will usually get a pick of five or six men in this one and you have to decide who will take the most wickets. It is the same as the top runscorer market in that it is decided on for each nation and again, centres on the first innings.
To score a half century: This market will usually have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and involve the top seven batsmen for each nation. The odds you will see will list the players name and then the yes or no answer and you have to decide whether or not they will make 50 runs or more in the innings.
To score a century: Who can be a hero on Boxing Day? Will your favourite batsman ton up? A century on Boxing Day is next to a century at Lord’s as one of the most coveted moments in a batsman’s career. Can you cash in too and make it one of the great moments in your punting career?
Tips for betting on Boxing Day
Bet within your means: We cannot stress this enough. Punting is meant to be fun and affordable. If you are betting with money that was meant for the dinner table, the school fees, or paying the bills at home, you are not doing it right. You are definitely hurting yourself, but you may be hurting your family as well. So make sure all your obligations are met and the Christmas presents have been paid for before you go out and have a couple of punts on the cricket.
Think early: Trust us, it is a bad idea to wake up with a hangover from too much beer and too much food on Christmas Day and just start thinking about what bets you are going to have on the Boxing Day Test. Bet with a clear head, do your research and study up well before the day. Obviously there will be some extenuating circumstances, given the team is not always named before the day, but you can make some educated guesses, look at the form of the teams or players you want to target and figure out who excels on the MCG.
Back the Aussies: This is the Test that Australia tends to lift for. While there has been the odd stinking loss, the Aussies, for the most part, have dominated this tilt. England have tasted victory at the ‘G only twice since the dark days of the 1980s, so the hosts are a pretty solid bet.
The stars come out to play: There have been some remarkable performances on the MCG in Boxing Day Tests and the greatest players tend to save their best for the theatre of cricket. From Bill Lawry’s 205 alongside with Ian Chappell (165) in 1968 to the four centuries in an innings from Usman Khawaja (144), Steve Smith (134*), Joe Burns (128) and Adam Voges (106*), there have been some jaw-dropping efforts.
Check the weather forecast: Melbourne’s weather is the Jekyll and Hyde of the world. It might be the only place where you can leave home in the morning covered from head to toe in a warm beanie, jacket, scarf, gloves and pants, and by the afternoon wish you had brought shorts, a T-shirt and thongs. And that, by nature, creates uncertainty in the Boxing Day Test. Punters should scope out the forecast beforehand and bet accordingly. The draw always feels like it is in play, even though it is not a common occurrence.
Boxing Day Test records
|Highest Score||Graham Yallop (Australia) – 268 v Pakistan, 1983|
|Most wickets||Graeme McKenzie (Australia) – 8/71 v West Indies, 1968|
|Most runs in Boxing Day Tests||Steve Waugh (Australia) – 1271|
|Most wickets in Boxing Day Tests||Shane Warne (Australia) – 43|
List of Boxing Day tests/results
|1990||England||Australia won by 9 wickets|
|1991||India||Australia won by 8 wickets|
|1992||West Indies||Australia won by 139 runs|
|1993||South Africa||Draw rain|
|1994||England||Australia won by 295 runs|
|1995||Sri Lanka||Australia won by 10 wickets|
|1996||West Indies||West Indies won by 6 wickets|
|1998||England||England won by 12 runs|
|1999||India||Australia won by 180 runs|
|2000||West Indies||Australia won by 352 runs|
|2001||South Africa||Australia won by 9 wickets|
|2002||England||Australia won by 5 wickets|
|2003||India||Australia won by 9 wickets|
|2004||Pakistan||Australia won by 9 wickets|
|2005||South Africa||Australia won by 184 runs|
|2006||England||Australia won by an innings and 99 runs|
|2007||India||Australia won by 337 runs|
|2008||South Africa||South Africa won by 9 wickets|
|2009||Pakistan||Australia won by 170 runs|
|2010||England||England won by an innings and 157 runs|
|2011||India||Australia won by 122 runs|
|2012||Sri Lanka||Australia won by an innings and 201 runs|
|2013||England||Australia won by 8 wickets|
|2015||West Indies||Australia won by 177 runs|
|2016||Pakistan||Australia won by an innings and 18 runs|