The first Test match of them all ended in a stunning victory for Australia over their colonial masters with opener Charles Bannerman becoming the first to score a Test century. But it would be some years before the match was classified as the historical first Test.
The English tourists were expected to romp to victory. But Bannerman thwarted them with a century that still remains in the record book as the highest percentage score by a batsman out of a completed innings. Half the Australian team were in fact born in England as was their best bowler, left arm medium pacer Thomas Kendall, who destroyed England's second innings with 7 for 55.
England gained a measure of revenge by winning the return match two weeks later.
Brief scores: Australia 245 and 104 bt. England 196 and 108 by 45 runs.
No. 2: The Oval, Aug. 1882
Australia's Fred Spofforth, known as the 'Demon' was Test cricket's fast bowling superstar. Three years earlier he had taken the first hat-trick at Melbourne. Now with England requiring a mere 85 for victory, he tore the batting apart with his second seven-wicket haul in the match for figures of 14 for 90.
Such was the tension in the closing stages that a spectator died of heart failure. England's defeat led a fan to place a mock obituary in a newspaper mourning the 'death' of English cricket and this eventually led to the creation of the Ashes urn which the two countries fight for till today.
Brief scores: Australia 63 and 122 bt. England 101 and 77 by 7 runs.
No. 3: The Oval, Aug. 1902
Coming in to bat with England gasping at 48 for 5 and requiring another 215 to win, Gilbert 'The Croucher' Jessop blazed to his century in 75 minutes, a world record broken only once since. But the home side still needed 15 runs more with the last wicket pair of Wilfred Rhodes and George Hirst at the crease. The two calmly chipped away to record the first single wicket victory in Test history.
Brief scores: Australia 324 and 121 lost to England 183 and 263 for 9 by one wicket.
No. 4: Old Wanderers, Johannesburg, Jan. 1906
Four years later and Test cricket saw another single wicket victory. This, if anything, was tenser than the Oval match as this time the last wicket South African pair of Dave Nourse and Percy Sherwell added 48 to take the home side to their first victory in their 12th match. It also provided the first instance of a side scoring the highest total of a Test in the fourth innings to win.
Brief scores: England 184 and 190 lost to South Africa 91 and 287 for 9 by one wicket.