Today Afghanistan becomes the 12th nation to play Test cricket

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert


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    Afghanistan has become a Test-playing cricket nation. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, File)

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    Afghanistan will join Test brotherhood today, 14 June, when they take on India at Bangalore (now Bengaluru). They are the 12th country to play Test cricket.

    Last month Ireland became the 11th country to make their Test debut. It was against Pakistan at Dublin.

    I have summarized Test debuts of all 12 countries in this article. Debuting countries are italicised.

    Australia versus England, Melbourne – 15, 16, 17, 19 March 1877
    Australia won the toss and batted. With Charles Bannerman scoring 165 retired hurt, Australia totalled 245. He faced the first ball in Test cricket, scored the first run and became the first batsman to score a century. He scored 67.3 per cent of the team score (165 out of 245) which still remains a Test record.

    England replied with 196, opener Henry Jupp scoring 63 and Australia’s William Midwinter taking 5/78. With England’s Alfred Shaw capturing 5/38 Australia tumbled to 104. Needing 154 runs for a win, England collapsed for 108 (Australia’s Tom Kendall 7/55) to lose by 45 runs.

    By coincidence this result and margin of victory were exactly emulated on the same ground 100 years later in the Centenary Test.

    South Africa versus England, Port Elizabeth – 12, 13 March 1889
    In a low-scoring match lasting only two days, South Africa was dismissed for 84, skipper Charles Smith (later Sir Aubrey Smith of Hollywood fame) took 5/19 and John Brigg 4/39. England replied with 148 (AR Innes 5-43) to lead by 64 runs. SA made 129 and England 2 for 67 to win by 8 wickets.

    West Indies versus England, Lord’s, London – 23, 25, 26 June 1928
    In a one-sided match, England amassed 401, George Ernest Tyldesley top-scoring with 122. West Indies were shot out for 177 (Vallance William Jupp 4/37) and 166 (England’s Alfred Freeman 4/37 and Jupp 3/66). England won by an innings and 58 runs.

    New Zealand versus England, Christchurch – 10, 11 (no play), 13 January 1930
    New Zealand’s Test debut was just as disappointing as South Africa’s and West Indies’s. In a way, this Test was a replay of South Africa’s first Test against England almost 51 years ago; no-one scoring a 50 and both debutants losing to England by 8 wickets.

    New Zealand was shot out for 112 (Roger Blunt 45, Maurice Allom 5/38 taking four wickets in five balls including the hat-trick in his Test debut) and 131 (Allom 3-17), England replying with 181 (KS Duleepsinhji 49) and 2 for 66.

    India versus England, Lord’s, London – 25, 27, 28 June 1932
    In reply to England’s 259 (skipper Douglas Jardine 79, Les Ames 65, Mohammad Nissar 5/93) and 275 (Jardine 85 not out and Eddy Paynter 54). India was dismissed for 189 (William Bowes 4-49) and 187 (L Amar Singh 51 at no. 9) to lose by 158 runs.

    Pakistan versus India, Delhi – 16, 17, 18 October 1952
    For the first time a debuting Test nation did not play against England. India scored 372 (Vijay Hazare 76, Hemu Adhikari 81 not out, Pakistan’s Amir Elahi 4/134). India’s master all-round spinner Vinoo Mankad was at his best, capturing 8/52 and 5/79 as Pakistan was bowled out for 150 (Hanif Mohammad 51) and 152 to lose by an innings and 70 runs.

    Sri Lanka versus England, Colombo – 17, 18, 20, 21 February 1982
    Sri Lanka started their Test career promisingly, making 218 (Ranjan Madugalle 65, Arjuna Ranatunga 54, Derek Underwood 5/28) and dismissing England (David Gower 89, Ashantha de Mel 4/70) for 223 to trail by only five runs.

    John Emburey captured 6/33 and Underwood 3/67 as Sri Lanka could make only 175 (Roy Luke Dias 77), losing their last seven wickets for only eight runs off 68 balls. Chris Tavare hit 85 as England reached their winning target for the loss of three wickets to win by seven wickets.

    Zimbabwe versus New Zealand, Bulawayo – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 November 1992
    Due to heavy rains, the first ever Test for Zimbabwe ended in a draw, so far the only draw concerning a debutant nation.

    New Zealand declared at 3 for 325 on the third day, Mark Greatbatch 87, Rod Latham 119 and Andrew Jones 67 scoring freely. For Zimbabwe Andy Flower scored 81 as the debutants were all out for 219. Greatbatch (88) and Latham (48) were again involved in a century partnership and NZ declared at 5 for 222.

    Zimbabwe started their second innings with a flourish, scoring 1 for 197, opener Kevin Arnott scoring an unbeaten 101 as the match was left as a draw. Arnott became only the second cricketer after Charles Bannerman to score a century for a debuting country.

    Bangladesh versus India, Dhaka – 10, 11, 12, 13 November 2000
    Bangladesh started with a flourish, amassing 400 runs with a century (145) by Animul Islam. India’s slow left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi took 5/142. Joshi also top-scored with 92. Opener Sadagoppan Ramesh scored 58 and skipper Saurav Ganguly 84 as India managed a narrow 29 run lead. Bangladesh captain and off-spinner Naimur Rahman took 6-132.

    It promised to be an interesting contest but Bangladesh collapsed for 91 in the second innings as Joshi and Javagal Srinath captured three wickets each. India scored 1 for 64 to win by 9 wickets.

    Ireland versus Pakistan, Dublin – 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 May 2018
    Pakistan totalled 9 for 310 (Fahim Ashraf 83, Asad Shafiq 62, Shabab Khan 55, Ireland’s Tim Murtagh taking 4/45). With Mohammad Abbas almost unplayable, Ireland was shot out for 130 (Kevin O’Brien 40). Following on, Ireland fared much better, with O’Brien scoring 118 and adding 104 runs with Stuart Thompson (53). They compiled a challenging 339, Abbas capturing 5-66 for a nine-wicket haul.

    With Imam-ul-Haq (74) and Babar Azam (59) adding 126 runs Pakistan won the Test by 5 wickets.

    Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi

    (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, File)

    Summary and highlights
    Of the 12 debuting counties, Australia is the only one to win and Zimbabwe the only one to draw their initial match. Others started on a losing note.

    Charles Bannerman (Australia), Kevin Arnott (Zimbabwe), Animul Islam (Bangladesh) and Kevin O’Brien (Ireland) are the only ones to score a century in their country’s Test debut.

    William Midwinter and Tom Kendall (Australia), Alfred Shaw (England), AR Innes (South Africa), Mohammad Nissar (India) and Naimur Rahman (Bangladesh) are the only ones to take five wickets in an innings in their country’s Test debut.

    England is the only country to stage a debut Test twice, both at Lord’s. India will become the second country to do so when they host the Test against Afghanistan today at Bengaluru. In 1952 Delhi was the venue of the Test between India and debutant nation Pakistan.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • June 14th 2018 @ 11:56am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 14th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Can any of you solve for me the AR Innes mystery?
      In South Africa’s first ever Test, v. England at Port Elizabeth in March 1889, he opened the batting for SAf, scored 0 and 13 and took 5-43 and 0-16. He played in the second Test in the series at Cape Town failing with bat and ball and was dropped. He was never picked again.
      But there is no mention of him in recent Wisdens, nor in the statistical section of The Wisden Book of Test Cricket Volume II (1995) by Bill Frindall. Nor in The Wisden Book of Test Cricket (2009-2014). Also not in CricInfo player list.

      Where did he disappear? Or did he change his name?

      • June 14th 2018 @ 1:11pm
        Pope Paul VII said | June 14th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Debunked my own theory sadly. Looks like he’s Albert Rose-Innes on cricinfo.

        And go the might ‘ghans, get stuck into ’em.

        • June 14th 2018 @ 1:26pm
          Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 14th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

          Thank you Pope Paul VII for your explanation.

    • June 14th 2018 @ 12:50pm
      Pope Paul VII said | June 14th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

      Obviously he’s a Time Lord Kersi.

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2018 @ 1:03pm
      Anindya Dutta said | June 14th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

      Nice summary Kersi of all the debut Tests. I am always amused by Australia’s record as the only country to win their debut test permanently depriving the Poms of their bragging rights 😃. It is an incredible moment in history to see Afghanistan make their debut. I was supposed to be in Bangalore this morning but sadly due to personal circumstances had to cancel.

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2018 @ 2:05pm
      DingoGray said | June 14th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      I really disappointed Foxtel didn’t pick up either the Ireland or Afghanistan 1st test match.

      Would of been good to watch.

      Do either of them get to play Australia in the Next 12 months? They wouldn’t be out hope of getting
      a result at the moment…..

      • Roar Pro

        June 14th 2018 @ 2:46pm
        Rafiqul Ameer said | June 14th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        having seen Australia cancelling their series against Bangladesh; i would be very upset if either of the two get any test against the Aussies in the next decade or so.

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2018 @ 3:28pm
          Matt H said | June 14th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

          Australia have already politely declined the opportunity to play Ireland ahead of the next Ashes, which would have made perfect sense. If history is anything to go by (they took something like three decades to get around to p;laying NZ) Australia will dodge them for financial reasons for as long as possible.

          • Roar Guru

            June 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm
            Anindya Dutta said | June 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            It took Australia 9-years to agree to tour India after hosting them in 1947 and 20-years to invite them back down under. So the way Australia deals with newbies has a certain pattern to it.

            • Roar Guru

              June 14th 2018 @ 4:45pm
              Matt H said | June 14th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              It’s such a short sighted attitude.

      • June 14th 2018 @ 9:06pm
        Pete said | June 14th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

        Nah, they did pick up the ireland test. It was a great watch. Loved it. Good turn out too. 7000 on day 2

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2018 @ 3:30pm
      Matt H said | June 14th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

      Congratulations to the Afghanistan cricket team. No matter what happens over the next 5 days this is a special moment. And I know the ICC rightly cop a lot of criticism over their handling of cricket (the 10 team ‘world cup’ is a disgrace), but they have done the right thing adding two nations to the test cricket family. And they must be doing something right with their development programs, because other Associate nations, such as Scotland (beating Englands), Netherlands (beating Ireland twice this week), Hong Kong, Nepal and PNG have been going from strength to strength.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2018 @ 4:13pm
        Anindya Dutta said | June 14th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

        Could not agree more Matt. Very heartening for cricket.

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2018 @ 3:59pm
      Anindya Dutta said | June 14th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

      The Afghan spinners receiving a valuable lesson in Test match bowling. Superb century before lunch from Dhawan. Rashid Khan looking like the debutant that he is instead of the unplayable champion he was unfairly assumed to be by some from Day 1.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm
        Matt H said | June 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

        When Dhawan is on, he is a seriously scary player. He now has a record that even Shewag didn’t manage.