Monday, November 11, 2013

Starting With A Bang

Indians who made hundreds on Test debut - from Ranji to Raina; from Sehwag to Dhawan.

One of the original icons of Indian cricket, Lala Amarnath made 38 and 118 in Mumbai Test against England in December 1933. It was the first Test match in India, still under British occupation at the time. A statistical nugget overshadowed by these details is that this was also the debut for England’s Bryan Valentine and he made 136 in their first innings.\r\n

Amarnath’s was also the first ever Test hundred by an Indian, if you discount Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, the king of Nawanagar, who played Test cricket for England and made 154 on debut against Australia way back in 1896.\r\n

Another Indian-born to score a hundred on Test debut for England is Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, father of Mansur Ali Khan, the great Indian captain. Pataudi senior made 102 in the first game of the infamous Bodyline series in Sydney. His England career came to a swift end when he refused to side by his captain Douglas Jardine’s bowling tactics.\r\n

Batting at No. 8, Roshan Harshadlal ‘Deepak’ Shodhan made 110 against Pakistan in the 1952 Kolkata Test. Astonishingly, the left-handed batsman would play just two more Tests and finish his career with a Test average of 60.33.\r\n

Amritsar Govindsingh Kripal Singh, the Sikh who played for Tamil Nadu, made 100 not out against New Zealand in the Hyderabad Test of 1955. Giving him great company in the innings was Polly Umrigar, who made the first double ton by an India, 223.\r\n

India lost the 1959 Test tour of England 5-0, but one of the bright sparks of the tour was Abbas Ali Baig, who made 112 on debut. An Oxford student, Baig came to the Indian squad as a 20-year-old. He had to retire hurt on 85 after being hit on the temple by a Dusty Rhodes bouncer. But he returned to score his hundred, sweeping the same bowler for a four after being stuck on 96 for an hour. India had been set 546 to win, and with hundreds from Baig and Umrigar, they got to a respectable 376.\r\n

The Maharaja of Banswara, Hanumant Singh was nephew to Ranji and cousin of Duleep. The current generation would know him more for his role of an ICC match referee. He made 105 in Delhi Test against England in 1964.\r\n

Gundappa Vishwanath made 137 in the Kanpur Test against Australia in 1969. He had made 0 in the first innings of the game. Vishwanath’s score remained the highest on Test debut for India till Shikhar Dhawan bettered it in 2013. Interestingly, Vishwanath also held the First Class record for the highest score on debut. He had made 230 for Mysore against Andhra in 1967.\r\n

Dropped by New Zealand on 8, 23 and 71, Surinder Amarnath made 124 in the Auckland Test of 1976. It made him and Lala Amarnath the only father and son duo to get hundreds on Test debut.\r\n

Mohammad Azharuddin announced himself to the world with a slow 110 off 322 balls in the Kolkata Test against England in 1984. He followed that up with 48 & 105 in his second Test in Chennai, and 122 & 54* in his third in Kanpur, making him the only man to make hundreds in his first three Tests.\r\n

With India staring down the barrel on a seaming Durban wicket, Pravin Amre took the attack to South Africa in the 1992 Test, making 103. India were 38-4, and then 146-7, but managed to grab lead with Amre’s rearguard hundred.\r\n

Sourav Ganguly made one of the most famous debuts of all, arriving at the big stage with 131 of the finest runs at Lord’s no less in the summer of 1996. Fellow debutant Rahul Dravid fell tragically on 95 in the same innings. Ganguly then made 136 in the next Test at Trent Bridge.\r\n

On a fresh wicket in Centurion, Virender Sehwag showed the world he wasn’t only a limited overs wonder. He made 105 against South Africa, matching stroke for stroke Sachin Tendulkar who made 155 in a delightful partnership in which they totally dominated the South African attack.\r\n

Suresh Raina made 120 on his Test debut in Colombo, a match-saving knock on a flat wicket. Unfortunately, that proved to be one of the rare highlights of a Test career that went off its wheels quickly.\r\n

Shikhar Dhawan made an outstanding start to his Test career. His 85-ball hundred against Australia in the ongoing Mohali Test is the fastest in terms of balls in all Tests – and we’re talking about 2081 matches played over 136 years.\r\n

Dhawan beat Vishwanath’s record for India of the highest score on Test debut when he roared into the 140s.\r\n

Dhawan beat Vishwanath’s record for India of the highest score on Test debut when he roared into the 140s.\r\n

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