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The difference between Test and limited-overs cricket

India's Mahendra Dhoni and Australia's Mike Hussey
One-day and Twenty20 internationals are played in coloured clothing

International cricket is played in two different forms - Test matches and limited-overs games. Here are the key differences between the two.

The easiest way to tell Test and limited-overs cricket apart is by looking at the players. In Test cricket they always wear whites and play with a red ball, whereas in the shorter game they wear coloured clothing and play with a white ball.

The most important difference, however, is their respective lengths. Test cricket is played over five days, with each day's play lasting six hours and at least 90 overs bowled per day.

Limited-overs cricket - as its name suggests - is restricted to a maximum number of overs, and in the modern era, international limited-overs cricket is divided between one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 internationals.

In the early days of one-day cricket, matches could last 60, 55 or 50 overs, although the standard ODI has been set at 50 overs per side for a number of years. The ICC Cricket World Cup, held every four years since 1975, is comprised of 50-over matches.

Pakistan celebrate a wicket taken by Mohammad Amir (left)
Test cricket is still played in traditional 'whites'

Twenty20 cricket has become more popular since the birth of the domestic Twenty20 Cup in England in 2003.

The first Twenty20 international took place between Australia and New Zealand in February 2005, while there have been several ICC World Twenty20 competitions since the inaugural event in 2007.

In limited-overs cricket, it is all about who can score the most runs in the same allotted amount of time.

Another key difference is that in the longer form each team has two turns to bat (called innings).

Each innings is over when either 10 batsmen are out (all out), or the captain of the batting side declares the innings finished, for tactical reasons.

In limited-overs cricket, on the other hand, the teams bat just once and an innings is over when either 10 batsmen are out or all the overs have been bowled.

see also
Does the white ball behave differently?
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
The aim of cricket
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
How runs are scored
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
The field of play
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
LBW explained
08 Nov 06 |  Laws & Equipment
Understanding the no-ball law
29 Aug 10 |  Laws & Equipment
When is a 'wide ball' called?
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
Understanding byes and leg byes
06 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment

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