First-class cricket is the highest-standard international/domestic matches in cricket.
A first-class match is one of three or more days' scheduled duration between two sides of eleven players each. It is officially adjudged to be worthy of the status by virtue of the standard of the competing teams. Matches must allow for the teams to play two innings each, although in practice a team might play only one innings or none at all.
First-class cricket, along with historical single-wicket and modern limited-overs forms, is one of the highest-standard forms of cricket. The etymology of "first-class cricket" is unknown, but it was used loosely before it acquired official status in 1895, following a meeting of leading English clubs. At a meeting of the Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC) in 1947, it was formally defined on a global basis. A significant omission of the ICC ruling was any attempt to define first-class cricket retrospectively. That has left historians, and especially statisticians, with the problem of how to categorise earlier matches, especially those played in Great Britain before 1895. The solution put forward by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (ACS) is to classify all pre-1895 matches of a high standard as important matches.
Test cricket is the highest standard of cricket. It is a form of first-class cricket. Although the term "first-class" is mainly used to refer to domestic competitions. A player's first-class statistics include any performances in Test matches.
- ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
- ACS (1982). A Guide to First-Class Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles. Nottingham: ACS.
- Birley, Derek (1999). A Social History of English Cricket. Aurum. ISBN 9781854106223.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society.
- Webber, Roy (1951). The Playfair Book of Cricket Records. Playfair Books Ltd.
- Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 27th edition, editor Charles F. Pardon, John Wisden & Co., 1890
- Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 32nd edition, editor Sydney Pardon, John Wisden & Co., 1895
- Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 85th edition, editor Hubert Preston, Sporting Handbooks Ltd, 1948