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.
Both of them have been prominent in domestic cricket for a while, but would probably not been on this tour if not for Covid.
Here are some of the records set during the chase of 395:
Most runs on debut (innings scores):
5th position here among the 6 who scored 200+
Most runs in a match on debut:
4th among the 12 who have made 200 in their debut match. Yasir Hameed did not score a century after making two on debut. Others such as Foster, Umar Akmal and Kuruppu did not last long, and Rowe somewhat under-performed though he played Tests up to 1980. He did make 302 against England in 1974.
Most runs in 4th innings on debut:
Mayers does top this list, surpassing India’s AA Baig who had provided a small silver lining to the 5-0 sweep in 1959. None of the other debutants except Yasir Hameed figured in successful chases.
Highest partnerships in successful chases (not only for debutants):
6th in this all-time list. No other instance where both were debutants. Gilchrist was playing his 2nd Test.
Most runs in unbeaten innings in successful run chase:
Here too Mayers is far ahead of the rest. No one else scored a century under these conditions. Next in line is a recent player Bancroft who was part of the Smith-Warner axis and probably will not play again.
This list also includes Lloyd, Lewis and Gimblett against India, besides Gavaskar for India against the West Indies. Maybe in some cases they hit the winning runs, but we need to check accounts of the match or commentary transcripts if available. It can be seen that Mayers did hit the winning run (a single).
Finally, we look at the cases of unbeaten 100+ scores in successful run chases (all instances, not only debutants):
Here Mayers is second only to Greenidge. India has Tendulkar and VVS near the bottom. There are also Haynes, Richards and Mark Taylor against India. But the next highest debutant after Mayers is Bancroft, as described above.
Tail piece: The WI captain Kraigg Brathwaite recorded his first win. His first 5 Tests as captain were losses.
A total of 105 batsmen have made a century on debut. They have accounted for 107 centuries (since LG Rowe and Yasir Hameed scored two centuries on their debuts).
But 40 of them never scored a century again (including Yasir Hameed). Two of them played only one Test (AG Ganteaume and RE Redmond) and many had short careers. Some had longer careers and made several fifties but no centuries. The complete list is:
Apart from the luckless 1-Test players, many played for one or two series only.
Those members of this club who played the most Tests are “honorary members” Yasir Hameed (25) and L Amarnath (24) followed by SK Raina (18). The most fifties are by 8 by Yasir Hameed followed by SK Raina (7) and Umar Akmal (6). Only one other (Hanumant Singh) has made 5 fifties.
C Bannerman’s century in the first ever Test is well known.
Note the father and son combination of L Amarnath and S Amarnath. The other son M Amarnath had a less successful debut but ended up as a leading batsman with several crucial centuries.
Aminul Islam and KJ O’Brien emulated C Bannerman and made centuries in the first Tests of their countries.
The bottom 4 (from Blundell onwards) are likely to play again. Some Pakistan fans feel that Fawad Alam has a chance of playing again although his last Test was in 2009.
The highest scorer here was RE Foster with 287 (which is the highest score on debut and was the Test record until A Sandham made 325 over a quarter century later). The only other double century is by Kuruppu (201*) Next are HD Rutherford (171), Yasir Hameed (170) and Fawad Alam (168).
Then there was the “Indian jinx”. It stemmed from the fact that for a long time, ALL Indian players who scored a century on debut never scored another. Namely:
L Amarnath (1933)
RH Shodhan (1952)
AG Kripal Singh (1955)
AA Baig (1959)
Hanumant Singh (1964)
One could also include the senior Nawab of Pataudi who played first for England and then for India.
GR Viswanath made a century on debut in 1969 and then a second one in 1973, thus ending the jinx.
Ultimately, 15 Indian players (not including the senior Pataudi) made a century on debut. Those who made centuries after their debut were Viswanath, Azharuddin, Ganguly, Sehwag, Dhawan and RG Sharma.
Those who missed out include the 5 listed above as well as S Amarnath, Amre, Raina and Shaw (although the last is likely to play again).
Then there are the tragic cases of those who never scored even a fifty after their debut. (RE Redmond is an exception as he scored a century and a fifty in his only Test. His son AJ Redmond played 8 Tests with two fifties and a top score of 83.)