Explained! Why series-opener between India-South Africa will be called Boxing Day Test?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 24, 2021, 07:56 PM(IST)

India will take on South Africa in Boxing Day Test starting from December 26. Photograph:( AFP )

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Boxing Day sporting fixtures are played majorly in Commonwealth nations, a day after Christmas. Here is a look at why these matches go by the name Boxing Day and its significance.

Indian cricket team will take on South Africa in the series-opener of the upcoming three-match rubber at the SuperSport Park in Centurion from Sunday (December 26). The Test match is being referred to as a Boxing Day Test as it will be played a day after Christmas, on December 26. Sporting fixtures on Boxing Day (December 26) are a traditional practice across several Commonwealth nations, including the likes of Australia, Canada, England, South Africa and New Zealand.

What is Boxing Day?

Boxing Day is a common term used for sporting fixtures, a day after Christmas. There are a couple of versions of why the day is known as Boxing Day and what is its significance. As per a popular version, the term comes from the alms boxes or boxes kept for the poor in churches which used to be opened, a day after the festival of Christmas.

Another popular theory that goes around is one that suggests, Boxing Day is celebrated to honour the labourers and servants who used to work even on Christmas. The name hence comes from the gift boxes they would get as presents, a day after the festival.

Boxing Day sporting fixtures:

Any sporting encounter happening on December 26 thus derives the common Boxing Day term in several major Commonwealth countries. While there is a line-up of fixtures lined up during the Boxing Day week in the English Premier League, a number of Test matches also begin on the day.

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This year, India will take on South Africa in a Boxing Day Test to mark the start of their three-match series against the Proteas. The game will be staged at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Australia will also be locking horns with England in the Boxing Day Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground from December 26 as part of the ongoing Ashes 2021.

Australia had first hosted a Boxing Day Test match in 1950 which was against England. India played their first Boxing Day Test against the Aussies in 1985. Manchester City taking on Leicester and Aston Villa's clash against Chelsea are some of the big draws of this year's Boxing Day festive fixtures in the Premier League.


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