Test cricket, known for its longer format and strategic gameplay, is divided into several sessions to ensure a fair balance between the batting and bowling teams.

A test match typically has three sessions in a day, each with its own specific duration and purpose. In day-night Test matches, there is an additional break known as the dinner break.

Let’s explore the three sessions and their inter-break timings in day and day-night Test matches.

Innings Break for Day Tests

1. First Session:

A test match’s first session typically begins in the morning and lasts around two hours. It starts after the toss and goes on until lunch.

The first session of day matches typically starts at around 10:30 a.m. and ends around 12:30 p.m. The bowling team seeks to gain early wickets and limit the batting team’s score during this session, while the batting team concentrates on laying a solid foundation.

2. Lunch Break:

A scheduled break for lunch is taken between the first and second sessions. It often lasts between 40 minutes and one hour, giving players time to rest, drink water, and eat lunch. The break is an important opportunity for players to rest and strategize for the upcoming session.

3. Second Session:

After lunch, the second session lasts for around two to three hours. The second session typically begins at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. The batting team wants to strengthen their position and score runs, while the bowling team seeks wickets and breakthroughs to put pressure on the opponent. This session is essential for both teams.

4. Tea Break:

The time between the second and third sessions is the tea break. It usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes, allowing players to relax, refuel, and plan for the day’s final session.

5. Third Session:

After the tea break, the third session starts and lasts until the completion of the day’s performances. It generally lasts for approximately two and a half to three hours.

Day matches start around 4:20 p.m. and end at the scheduled close of play, usually around 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., depending on the remaining overs. This session is crucial for both teams, especially when setting or chasing a target.

Please note that the above schedule is applicable in England, Australia, and New Zealand. While in the subcontinent countries, the first session of a Test starts at 9.30 a.m. and the day ends at 5 p.m.

Innings Break in Day-Night Test Cricket 

Test cricket has evolved with day-night Test matches played with a pink ball under floodlights. Day-night tests adjust the three sessions and inter-break timings to accommodate the unique playing conditions. Explore the three sessions and their inter-break timings in day-night Test cricket.

Also Read: Difference Between Red, White & Pink Cricket Balls – Explained

1. First Session:

The first session in a day-night test match usually begins in the afternoon and lasts approximately two hours. It starts after the toss and continues until the dinner break. Depending on when the contest begins, the exact timeframe could change. During this session, the teams aim to establish their innings and progress significantly regarding runs and partnerships.

2. Dinner Break:

In day-night tests, there is a scheduled dinner break, which takes place during the evening session. It allows players to have a proper meal and rest before continuing the match under lights. The dinner break is typically longer than the traditional lunch break, giving players sufficient time to recharge.

3. Second Session:

The second session of a day-night test begins after the dinner break and continues for approximately two to three hours. This session is crucial, including transitioning from natural light to artificial floodlights. The batting team aims to capitalize on the conditions and score runs, while the bowling team focuses on taking wickets during the challenging twilight period.

4. Tea Break:

A tea break separates the second and third sessions of day-night tests, just like day tests do. Players can rest, refuel, and reassemble during the tea break before the final game under the lights.

5. Third Session:

The third session of a day-night Test starts after the tea break and lasts until the end of the day. This session uses floodlights, which pose a unique challenge for bowling and batting. The start time of this session is subject to change depending on the state of the match, the number of overs left, and the playing conditions.

Keep in mind that in some day-night Test matches, the tea break will take place after the first session instead of the dinner break. And the dinner break will happen after the second session.


The breaks and intervals in a day-night Test match are strategically designed to let players obtain enough rest, eat, and adjust to the changing lighting conditions. Additionally, groundskeepers can maintain the pitch and outfield under lights during these times.

It’s important to remember that the exact timing of sessions and breaks may vary based on factors such as the start time of the match, the playing conditions, and the number of remaining overs. The umpires reserve the right to adjust the timing to maintain a fair and competitive game.

Test cricket involves adherence to the laws of the game and adjustments to the unique challenges given by playing at night. Tests during the day and at night alter the mood and intensity of the game, adding an exciting new layer to the conventional structure.

Read Next: New Ball Rules in a Cricket Match – Explained


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