Despite resistance from the MCC and its cricket committee, the ICC Board on Friday approved a "trial" of four-day Test cricket, with South Africa and Zimbabwe playing the first official game of the new format on Boxing Day.
While most of those matches will take place over five days, ICC chief executive David Richardson felt the four-day format can be quite helpful to the lower-ranked nations and the two newest Full Members Afghanistan and Ireland.
"The trial starts immediately, probably with the first one Zimbabwe playing South Africa from Boxing Day in South Africa," Richardson said.
However, the ICC felt four-day Tests could bring back the lost fervour.
According to a member director present during the Auckland meetings, both the decision-making bodies at ICC - the Chief Executives' Committee and the Board - strongly favoured trialling four-day Tests.