The independent voice of cricket


The seven greatest debut Test knocks this century

Kyle Mayers with one of the greatest debut Test knocks in a run-chase of 395
by Rohit Sankar 4 minute read

Kyle Mayers scripted a fantastic double hundred on Test debut to help West Indies to the fifth-highest run-chase in Test history against Bangladesh. Here, we relive seven of the greatest debut Test knocks.

Shikhar Dhawan: 187 v Australia, Mohali

Shikhar Dhawan had an unforgettable Test debut in Mohali against a visiting Australia side. An 85-ball hundred, the fastest ever by a debutant, made light of Australia’s first innings total of 408 as India took a 91-run lead. The opening pair of Dhawan and Murali Vijay added 289 for the first wicket with Dhawan racing to 187 in 174 balls.

Interestingly, before even facing a ball, Dhawan was caught short at the non-striker’s end as the ball slipped from Mitchell Starc’s hand to hit the stumps with Dhawan out of the crease. However, Australia did not appeal and Dhawan made most of the chance.

Jonathan Trott 119 v Australia, Oval

With the Ashes tied at 1-1 heading into the final Test at The Oval, England dropped an out of form Ravi Bopara and chose to go with Jonathan Trott, the Warwickshire batsman with an impressive first-class record ahead of a domestic behemoth, Mark Ramprakash. Trott made 41 in the first innings as England made 332 and then bowled Australia out for less than half of that.

In the second innings, Trott walked in at 39-3 and stood unfazed, guiding the innings even as England slipped to 243-7. In the company of Graeme Swann, Trott went into the nineties and soon after the tailender’s dismissal, completed a debut Test ton. England went on to win by 197 runs.

Kane Williamson 131 v India, Ahmedabad

Kane Williamson had a baptism by fire in India when he walked in at 131-4 on debut with a huge deficit to erase. Calm as ever, Williamson showed how good a player of spin he was as he played the Indian spinners with conviction to help New Zealand close in on India’s total. Williamson’s talent was on full display as he fought through some really good bowling to complete his debut century. He was dismissed with New Zealand just 60 shy of India’s total. The Test was eventually drawn.

Faf du Plessis 110* v Australia, Adelaide

Arguably, the greatest ever Test knock on debut came from Faf du Plessis in Adelaide with his team having their backs against the wall. Du Plessis, who had made 78 in the first innings only to see his side concede a mammoth first innings lead, walked in with South Africa at 45-4 chasing 430 with five sessions of the game left. In the company of his schoolmate, AB de Villiers, du Plessis dropped anchor and dead-batted everything the Aussies threw at him.

The marathon knock saw him remain unbeaten on 110 off 376 balls as South Africa salvaged an epic draw.

Ben Foakes 107 v Sri Lanka, Galle

Picked alongside Jos Buttler as a specialist wicketkeeper in sub-continental conditions, Ben Foakes did more than just keep, stepping up with a century from No.7 in England’s first innings to help them to 342, an effort that laid the platform for England’s 211-run win in Galle.

Foakes came in with the team five wickets down and the total just past 100. Batting sensibly with the tail, Foakes negotiated Sri Lanka’s trio of spinners to make a fine century. He was the last man dismissed in the first innings and then produced a quickfire 37 off 34 balls in the second innings to set up a declaration.

Kevin O’Brien 118 v Pakistan, Dublin

In Ireland’s maiden Test, Kevin O’Brien added a feather to his ever-growing legacy with a Test ton for the ages. Made to follow-on after making just 130 in the first innings in reply to Pakistan’s 310, Ireland were 95-4 when O’Brien walked in. He countered some top-class Pakistan bowling to make a Test century on debut and help Ireland to a handy  lead. The eventual target of 160 proved to be fairly easy for Pakistan, but O’Brien’s knock went straight into the history books for the character he showed on debut. His 118 was among the best debut Test knocks in a long while.

Kyle Mayers 210* v Bangladesh, Chattogram

A double hundred in the fourth innings on debut. The first to achieve this rare feat, Kyle Mayers created history for a young West Indies side in Bangladesh when his knock powered them to a run-chase of 395 in the fourth innings at Chattogram. With several senior players absent, West Indies’ Bangladesh tour seemed a foregone conclusion even before it had begun. A 0-3 whitewash in the ODIs confirmed those suspicions and a similar fate was awaited in the Test series. A 171-run lead conceded in the first innings fit the script perfectly.

Bangladesh declared setting a target of 395, and at 59-3, West Indies seemed out of the contest. Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner, both on debut, stitched a double century stand to put West Indies on track. Even after Bonneh’s dismissal, Mayers went along strong and completed a double hundred as West Indies won by three wickets. The greatest ever debut Test knock? Hard to argue against it.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99