A Test match, which is the longest and purest format of the game, is played over five days with a couple of breaks in between. 

It is also the format which tests a cricketer’s patience, endurance and mental toughness among other essentials, which are paramount to competing for a minimum of  six hours a day for five successive days.

In a Test match, two intervals are taken in a day’s play before the conclusion of the day (stumps). The first break, which is a 40-minute lunch break, is taken approximately two hours or 30 overs into the day’s play.

The second break, which is the tea break, is taken two hours following the resumption after lunch.

Here, we have a look at the tea break and its rules during a Test match.

What is tea break in Test cricket?

Tea is a break taken during a Test match and is an important element of the game. The tea break provides players with an opportunity to regroup, strategise, rest, rehydrate and recharge their batteries before the final session of the day.

The break lasts for around 20 minutes and during this time, players can rest, drink tea/coffee or energy drinks and have light refreshments. The tea break is also an opportunity for the team members to discuss their performance and strategise for the rest of the game.

How long is the tea break in Test cricket?

The third or the final session of the day gets underway after a 20-minute tea break.

However, according to law 11.4 of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the pre-decided tea interval can be changed if the on-field umpires and both captains come to a mutual agreement on the move. This usually happens when playing time is lost due to adverse conditions of ground, weather or light and other exceptional circumstances.

Moreover, law 11.6.1 states that “If an innings ends when 30 minutes or less remains before the agreed time for tea, the interval shall be taken immediately. It shall be of the agreed duration and shall be considered to include the 10-minute interval between innings.”


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