There is no doubt that the ICC tournaments are the pinnacle of the sport. The limited-overs World Cups and the World Test Championship have witnessed fierce battles between teams.
However, some bilateral Test series have also carved their places in cricketing history. Once 2 teams start playing against each other regularly, it becomes part of their cricketing tradition.
To commemorate the tradition, the teams start playing for coveted trophies that stand witness to intense competition and rivalry.
Here, in this piece, we’ll list down the 9 most renowned bilateral Test series trophies.
England and Australia battle it out for the oldest trophy in cricketing history — The Ashes. There is a fascinating story linked to the naming of this trophy.
In 1882, Australia won their first-ever Test in England, which was also England’s first Test loss on home soil. A British newspaper mocked the defeat by publishing an obituary: ‘In affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at The Oval on 29 August 1882. The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.’
When England toured Australia in 1882-83, they were determined to avenge the defeat, depicting the series as regaining the Ashes.
Since then, both teams have been playing a 5-match Test series once every 2 years on a home and away basis.
Also Read | Top Ten Ashes Tests of All Time
Border-Gavaskar Trophy (BGT)
India and Australia have produced some world-class Test batters, and it was fitting to have a Test trophy named after 2 of them. Australia’s Allan Border and India’s Sunil Gavaskar both amassed over 10000 Test runs at a 50+ average.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy kicked off with a one-off Test match in 1996 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. India is the most successful team, having won the trophy over 10 times.
Anthony de Mello Trophy and Pataudi Trophy
The Anthony de Mello Trophy and Pataudi Trophy are both contested between India and England. The only difference is both teams play for the Anthony de Mello Trophy in India, while the Pataudi Trophy takes place in England.
Anthony de Mello, former BCCI President, was instrumental in establishing the cricketing scene in the country, including the premier Ranji Trophy. In 1951-52, both teams played the series for the time, which resulted in a draw.
On the other hand, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) came up with a trophy to commemorate the first Test match played between England and India in 1932. The trophy got its name after the Pataudi family, which saw the father-son duo of Mohammad Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi represent India.
Australia and Sri Lanka are home to 2 of the greatest spinners who dazzled the field with their magical deliveries. Australia’s finest Shane Warne grabbed 1001 wickets, while Sri Lanka’s spin maestro Muthiah Muralidaran picked up 1334 wickets.
In 2007, both teams played the inaugural Warne-Muralidaran series, celebrating 25 years of Test cricketing relations between Sri Lanka and Australia.
Basil D’Oliveira Trophy
The winner between South Africa and England gets their hands on the Basil D’Oliveira trophy. Basil D’Oliveira, after whom the trophy is named, was a South Africa-born cricketer who played international cricket for England.
However, Basil D’Oliveira was part of a controversy known as the D’Oliveira Affair, which resulted in the isolation of South Africa from international cricket.
From 1948 to 1990, South Africa had an apartheid policy in place that discriminated against Cape Coloured people. Since D’Oliveira belonged to the Cape Coloured ethnic group, South Africa’s Prime Minister objected to his inclusion in Enland’s team in the 1968 series. This resulted in the series being cancelled and South Africa’s Test status being revoked.
The Freedom Trophy
To honour 2 of the greatest freedom fighters from India and South Africa, the BCCI and CSA dedicated a series after Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggles for their respective countries.
The inaugural series was played in 2015 in India, which the home side claimed by defeating the Proteas 3-0.
Frank Worrell Trophy
Since 1960-61, the West Indies and Australia have been contesting for the Frank Worrell Trophy. The trophy is named after the West Indies’ former captain, Frank Worrell, who paved the way to building a champion team.
The inaugural series took place in Australia, which saw the first-ever tied Test match. At the end of the series, Australia won the trophy by a 2-1 margin.
The Trans-Tasman Trophy is played between rivals Australia and New Zealand. The trophy gets its name from the Tasman Sea, which separates both countries.
Australia and New Zealand have been playing against each other since 1985-86.
Another trophy that celebrates 2 of the best spinners that the cricketing world has seen. The Benaud-Qadir series was inaugurated in March 2022 and is played between Australia and Pakistan.
Richie Benaud was an elegant leg spinner in his heydays for Australia. While Abdul Qadir kept the art of wrist spin alive during the 1970s-80s.