Predictably, England won the first Test at Chittagong. Less predictable was the narrow margin of victory. Had they won, this would have been Bangladesh’s first Test win against a major team. We should not count the two victories against the West Indies third XI in 2009.
Sabbir Rahman made an unbeaten fifty on his debut. We now look into all those who achieved this feat on their debut.
For convenience, we break these instances into three sections, depending on whether the debutant’s team won, lost or drew/tied the match. There are a total of 73 such instances (including two cases where the debutant scored unbeaten fifty-plus scores in each innings).
We start with instances of unbeaten 50+ when the debutant’s team won:
27 such instances, including the first-ever Test century and a double century (Rudolph). That is the highest unbeaten innings by a debutant, and DSBP Kuruppu (see below) is the only other batsman to score an unbeaten 200+.
SG Law and MN Nawaz were playing their only Tests. Van Zyl and Voges had contrasting careers after their debut.
We will later try to see which of them may have hit the winning runs.
Next, we consider instances of unbeaten 50+ when the debutant’s team lost:
18 such instances, including two innings by GC Grant. He was also captaining the West Indies on his debut. Barrett and Javed Omar carried their bats through the innings. Some famous names of the recent past are topped off by Sabbir Rahman and his 64*. Southee added a five-for to his 77*, thus becoming one of the handful of debutants to score a 50+ and 5wi.
We will later identify those who were left stranded at the end of the fourth innings.
Finally, we consider instances of unbeaten 50+ when the debutant’s team drew or tied:
28 instances, including two innings by Azhar Mahmood. He is the only one to scoore an unbeaten hundred and unbeaten fifty on debut. Rowe is here as well, having scored 214 along with the 100* mentioned here. And Kuruppu has an unbeaten double century. Again, a few famous names from the recent past who are still going strong.
Coming back to our original query, we isolate those who scored their unbeaten fifty-plus in the 4th innings, and were thus batting at the time of victory:
Only 8 such instances, including Gavaskar besides Gimblett, Lloyd and Lewis against India. In some cases they may have hit the winning runs. This could be checked from the ball-by-ball commentary if available, or from contemporary match reports.
Finally, we look at those who were left unbeaten with 50+ in the 4th innings when their team lost:
Naturally, Sabbir Rahman tops off this list. India was not involved in any of these instances.
There might have been cases of remaining unbeaten on 50+ in the 3rd innings when their team lost by an innings. The possible candidates are:
Barrett, Ranjitsinhji, Grant, Howarth, Javed Omar and Henriques.
A look at the scorecard shows only Howarth and Javed Omar being left unbeaten in the third innings, when their team lost by an innings. Howarth was at the other end when fellow debutant No 11 Ewan Chatfield suffered a potentially fatal injury when struck by a ball from Peter Lever.