Century on debut and never again (revised)

The feat of scoring a century on Test debut is not as rare as one may imagine. It has occurred no less than 100 occasions which  produced 102 centuries, including two instances of two centuries on debut. Most of these players have gone on to score one or more centuries after that, including prolific batsmen like Peter May, Bill Ponsford, G. R. Viswanath, Greg Chappell, Saleem Malik, M. Azharuddin and Virender Sehwag among others.

The highest innings score on debut is 287 by R.E. Foster in 1903-04 (oddly enough the Wright Brothers made their first successful flight during this match). There are several other double centuries on debut. Those who scored two centuries on debut are L. G. Rowe (214 and 100* in 1971-72) who scored several centuries including a triple after that, and Yaseer Hameed (170 and 105 in 2003-04) who never made another.

Those who scored double centuries on debut and failed to make even a single after this include R.E. Foster and B. Kuruppu. The list below also includes some who scored a total of over 200 in the match, including Archie Jackson, Yaseer Hameed and Umar Akmal.

Of the 100 who scored one or two centuries on debut, 37 including Yaseer Hameed never made another one. And several never made even a fifty again. The full list is given below:

COD-1 001The first instance of 165* came in the very first Test in 1876-77. Ganteaume and Redmond scored centuries in their only Tests, the former doing so in his only Test innings and the latter adding a fifty in the second innings. SC Griffith and AG Ganteaume provide the only example of two such unfortunates making their debut in the same Test.

For a long time there was supposed to be a hoodoo of sorts over Indian players who scored a century on debut. Lala Amarnath, D. H. Shodhan, Kripal Singh, A. A. Baig, Hanumant Singh (not to forget Pataudi Sr playing for England) never made another century. However, K. S. Ranjitsinhji did add to his century on debut. G. R. Viswanath was the first to score a duck and century on debut. Three others followed him, including K. K. Jennings a few days ago in Dec 2016.

It was not until 1972-73 that he scored his second century and broke the hoodoo. Several other Indians such as Azharuddin , Ganguly and Sehwag did score several centuries after their debut, although S. Amarnath (like his father), P. Amre and S. Raina also failed to add to their century on debut.

Ironically, Mohinder Amarnath did not have a great debut but had a more successful Test career than his brother.

The list above does include some who are still in Test contention (from Umar Akmal onwards) who may yet score more centuries-though it appears that some of them (such as Raina) are not very likely to play Tests again. South Africa’s SC Cook has played only one Test at the time of writing. He must be hoping that he will do better than his compatriot S van Zyl.

Update: SC Cook indeed made more centuries before the end of 2016.

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More of “Make mine a double”

As we have seen, only three batsmen have made their maiden Test century a triple century. There are many more whose maiden century was a double century. Fortunately this topic was recently mentioned in Steven Lynch’s Cricinfo column. Here is the list (as of May 2015):

Highest maiden century

A long list of 35 players, indeed. But there are many subtleties involved. In some cases the double century was the only Test century the player made. And a few of these double centuries were made on debut. In two cases the double century on debut was the only century by that player. We take a further look at the above table.

When we have a list of centuries made by each player, we can further analyze how these maiden centuries were significant. The tables below give some comments for each of the above players, bringing out some relatively rare occurrences:

DCD 001

DCD 002

DCD 003