when 8 balls made an over

From the Daily News (Perth) 11 January 1937, this photograph of a counter to keep track of the number of balls bowled in an over of cricket.  The umpire J D Scott had been appointed to the test arena in November of the previous year. (The Advertiser 26 November 1936).  This counter is made for 8 ball overs.

Over counterJ D Scott - test umpire

Via Wikipedia, here’s a chronology on which countries played what number of balls bowled per over until it was standardised for test cricket.

Since 1979/80, all Test cricket has been played with six balls per over. However, overs in Test cricket originally had four balls per over, and there has had varying number of balls per over around the world up to 1979/80, generally the same as the number of balls per over in force in other first-class cricketin that country.

Balls per over

In England

  • 1880 to 1888: 4
  • 1889 to 1899: 5
  • 1900 to 1938: 6
  • 1939 to 1945: 8 (though not in the “Victory” Tests)
  • 1946 to date: 6

In Australia

  • 1876/77 to 1887/88: 4
  • 1891/92 to 1920/21: 6
  • 1924/25: 8
  • 1928/29 to 1932/33: 6
  • 1936/37 to 1978/79: 8
  • 1979/80 to date: 6

In South Africa

  • 1888/89: 4
  • 1891/92 to 1898/99: 5
  • 1902/03 to 1935/36: 6
  • 1938/39 to 1957/58: 8
  • 1961/62 to date: 6

In New Zealand

  • 1929/30 to 1967/68: 6
  • 1968/69 to 1978/79: 8
  • 1979/80 to date: 6

In Pakistan

  • 1954/55 to 1972/73: 6
  • 1974/75 to 1977/78: 8
  • 1978/79 to date: 6

In IndiaWest IndiesSri LankaZimbabweBangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (venue, not host) all Test matches have been played with six ball overs.

For those unfamiliar with the game of cricket (assuming you’ve read this far), here’s a ‘helpful’ explanation.  (Benalla Ensign 10 June 1954)

explain cricket