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A look at the history of the Boxing Day Test Match

Congratulations to Ajinkya Rahane, the inaugural winner of the Mullagh Medal!

The Boxing Day Test Player of the Match medal has been named in honour of trailblazing Indigenous cricketer Johnny Mullagh (Unaarrimin). pic.twitter.com/nhHH3c6Xmx

— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 29, 2020

The Boxing Day Test will always be a key date in the Australian calendar. The history of cricket played on this day goes back to 1892. Then, the Sheffield Shield was contested by Victoria and New South Wales at the MCG. Now the big day tends to involve a touring international side. Every few years, it involves an English team battling for a foothold in the Ashes series. For English fans who travel Down Under, it is often a great occasion and atmosphere.

A look towards Boxing Day 2021

By the time Australia and England are battling out on Boxing Day 2021, we could have a decent indication of which side will be winning the series. Some believe that home advantage will play a part. As a result, this Australian side goes into the series as favourites. These cricket betting odds put them at 3/10 to win.

Widely considered to be one of the best batsmen in modern-day cricket, Steve Smith is a player who could impress, and the 32-year-old is expected to play a big part. Paddy Power cricket betting is giving odds of 7/5 that he will be the player to score the most runs for Austalia during the series. Will this happen on Boxing Day? Perhaps an England player can perform well and give his side the impetus to reclaim The Ashes?

A couple of unforgettable Boxing Day moments

On this day, top-class international cricket is played in front of a packed ground and carnival-type atmosphere. Many players are often inspired and put on a show for the thousands of fans in attendance. Back in 1994, England's players were struggling to match the home side and had already lost the First Test by 184 runs. This contest saw them lose again and it featured a memorable hat-trick from Shane Warne.

In the Boxing Day Test of 2010, England wanted to put on a show for their fans that had travelled. What followed was a performance that even the most optimistic of fans wasn't anticipating. A tremendous bowling display saw the home side dismissed for 98. The batsmen then took over and England finished the first day on 157/0. They would go on to win the match by an innings and 157 runs. Very few punters would have placed a bet on that outcome before the first ball.

Playing a part in cricket's ongoing popularity in Australia

Cricket has always been obsessed with tradition. Australia is no different, as seen by the Boxing Day Test played throughout history. Fans all over the country will no doubt watch the action together. Fans of opposing teams will often see it as an excuse to spend the Christmas period in a warmer climate.

Further evidence of this tradition can be seen with the introduction of the Mullagh Medal, an award given to the player of the match in the Boxing Day Test. It's named in memory of Indigenous Australian cricketer Johnny Mullagh. Ajinkya Rahane won the first award in 2020 after he helped his India side beat Australia. Which player will pick up the award later this year?