Ten wickets on Test debut and never again

(Updated on 15 May 2021):

Some achievements on debut are more difficult than others.

As may as 110 centuries have been scored on debut, as well as 169 five-fors. In a few cases the player has scored two centuries or took two fivers in his debut Test.

But only 16 have taken ten wickets in their first Test:

The last entrant is Praveen Jayawickrama of Sri Lanka, who has played only one Test so far.

But the members of this exclusive club have not been fortunate. A quick overview:

We can see that:

Marriott played only one Test. Newcomer Jayawickrama has also played only one so far.

However, a total of 12 of these 16 never took a ten-for after their debut. The only ones who did so were T Richardson (total 4 times), Grimmett (7), Bedser (5) and Valentine (4)

And 7 of the 16 never even took a five-for after their debut.

Perhaps Jayawickrama will be able to overcome these odds.

Also, JK Lever is the only one to take a ten-for along with a fifty on debut. He never made another fifty, although he did add two five-fors to his 7-49 on debut.

While Ken Farnes did add one five-for to the two he took on debut, he died young in a flying accident during WW2.

Incidentally, Jayawickrama’s 11-178 is the best by a left-arm spinner on debut, surpassing the 11-204 by AL Valentine in 1950.

Century on debut and never again (May 2021)

Scoring a century on Test debut is not as difficult as one may think. As many as 108 players have scored 110 centuries on their Test debut, including LG Rowe and Yasir Hameed who scored centuries in both innings.

There are several who failed to score a century after their debut. The full list (up to 15/05/2021) is given below.

Players can drop off this list (as Fawad Alam did after over 11 years). Some current players (from PP Shaw downwards) can be reasonably expected to score another century sooner or later.

The most Tests played here are 25 by Yasir Hameed and 24 by L Amarnath. The latter was an useful bowler and a relatively better captain (by Indian standards of those days).

The most 50s scored after debut are 8 by Yasir Hameed and 7 by SK Raina. The latter was more successful in limited-overs matches, and was one of the first to score a century in a T20I.

Now we look at those who never crossed 50 after their debut.

Ganteaume played in only one innings. RE Redmond is not here as he scored a century and a fifty in his only Test.

The most Tests played among these players are 12 by van Zyl and 10 by DR Smith.

Fawad Alam (again!) got off this list after over 11 years.

There do not seem to be any current players here.

Records of Zimbabwe-Pakistan Test series-May 2021

Another one-sided series which was a common feature of the last few months.

Here is a full record of Tests between these teams:

Zimbabwe has only won 3 of these Tests. But they have been significant, as the first win in 1994-95 was Zimbabwe’s first win (though they lost the series 2-1). The second in 1998-99 ensured Zimbabwe’s first series win abroad. And the third in 2013 was one of their rare drawn series against a major team.

Highlights of this series: Babar Azam won all 4 of his first 4 Tests as captain.

Abid Ali’s 215* is the highest for Pak v Zim in Zim, surpassing Younis Khan’s 200* in 2013. The Pak v Zim record is still Wasim Akram’s 257* in 1996 at Sheikhupura.

He also became the first to make a score of 215* in a Test. Several others have been dismissed on 215, most recently MA Agarwal and M Labuschagne.

Nauman Ali (97 and 5-86) came close to becoming the first to make a century +5wi for Pakistan against Zimbabwe. PA Strang had already done this for Zim v Pak in 1996. That was the same match in which Wasim Akram scored 257*.

Fawad Alam now has the most centuries (4) without a score between 50 and 99. The previous “record” was 3 centuries by Ravi Bopara. However, it should be mentioned that ED Weekes made 5 centuries before making his first fifty (that too in 5 successive innings), and GA Headley went a step ahead with 6 centuries before stooping to a fifty.

The 2020-21 Test season

The season finally got over with Pakistan’s effortless 2-0 win over Zimbabwe.

The ICC Test ranking tables as on 11 May:

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/test

It does not include Afghanistan and Ireland because of insufficient matches.

Then there is the table for the WTC Test Championship of 2019-21

https://www.icc-cricket.com/world-test-championship/standings

It is unclear what form the WTC will take in 2021-23 (or, indeed, if it will take place at all). If the restriction of the top 9 teams are taken, it may happen that Afghanistan will replace Bangladesh.

Records of the SL-BD Test series-2021

Sri Lanka won the series 1-0, with the first match being a dull draw. In the second Test, debutant Praveen Jayawickrama recorded the best bowling for SL on debut and also recorded the best bowling for any slow left-armer on debut, surpassing Alf Valentine’s record in 1950.

D Karunaratne’s 244 in the first Test is the best for SL v BD at home. The previous record was 222* by Sangakkara in 2007. However, the highest for SL v BD is 319 also by Sangakkara in 2013-14. He and GA Gooch are the only ones to score a triple century and century in the same Test. It is probably a first-class record as well.

We now look at the final WTC points table, as all the possible fixtures (barring the final) have been completed:

https://www.icc-cricket.com/world-test-championship/standings

Also, the ICC rankings (as distinct from the WTC tables:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/rankings/content/page/211271.html

This covers Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland as well. It is not clear how the 2021-23 WTC will play out, but it is possible that Afghanistan would challenge Bangladesh for the last place.

Praveen Jayawickrama’s records

Debutant left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama played a crucial role in Sri Lanka’s Test and series win against Bangladesh, especially as the first Test was played on a batting paradise.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/player/praveen-jayawickrama-1028665

In the second Test he took 6-92 and 5-86, making a total of 11-178.

This was the best by a Sri Lankan bowler on debut in an innings:

Note that his name appears twice here, for his 6-for as well as 5-for.

And the best match figures by a Sri Lankan bowler on debut:

We see that he is the first Sri Lankan bowler to take 10 wickets on debut.

Now let us see about left-arm spinners on debut:

Jayawickrama has the third-best figures here.

A more surprising result is obtained when we see the match bowling figures if this category on debut:

Here, he has the best match figures of debutants in this category, edging out the famous Alf Valentine’s figures in 1950.