Mendis beats a Bedser best
The last time a Sri Lankan bowler took more wickets than Muttiah Muralitharan in a Test series - barring the one at home against South Africa in 2004 where he played only one match - was when West Indies visited in 2001-02. Murali would have topped the wickets tally again against India had it not been for a record-breaking performance from Ajantha Mendis in his debut series. Mendis' 26 wickets at 18.38 apiece was the record for most wickets by a debutant in a three-Test series. This week's List looks at bowlers with the most wickets in debut series of varying length.
The record that Mendis broke belonged to Alec Bedser, which he set during a three-Test rubber against India in 1946. Bedser took 24 wickets in five innings at 12.41, including 11-wicket hauls in the first two Tests. His 7 for 49 at Lord's was the second-best performance in an innings on debut, after Albert Trott's 8 for 43 against England at the Adelaide Oval in 1895.
Does anyone remember Franklyn Saliya Ahangama? He was a Sri Lankan medium-pacer fast-tracked into the Test side less than two weeks after his first-class debut with Sri Lanka Colts in 1985. He dismissed Mohammad Azharuddin with his fourth ball in Test cricket - the first of his 18 wickets at 19.33 apiece in the three-Test series against India. He took five wickets in his second match, at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium, which was Sri Lanka's maiden Test victory. Injuries, combined with the short supply of Tests, curtailed Ahangama's career and though he toured England in 1988 and 1991, the 1985 series against India remained his only Test appearances.
|BAW Mendis (SL)||3||979||478||26||6/117||18.38||2||1||v India||2008|
|AV Bedser (Eng)||3||866||298||24||7/49||12.41||2||2||v India||1946|
|SR Clark (Aus)||3||708||317||20||5/55||15.85||1||0||v South Africa||2005/06|
|J Cowie (NZ)||3||839||395||19||6/67||20.78||1||1||v England||1937|
|FS Ahangama (SL)||3||801||348||18||5/52||19.33||1||0||v India||1985|
|Shabbir Ahmed (Pak)||3||714||341||17||5/48||20.05||1||0||v Bangladesh||2003|
|MRCN Bandaratilleke (SL)||3||960||339||16||5/36||21.18||1||0||v New Zealand||1998|
|RO Collinge (NZ)||3||655||265||15||3/41||17.66||0||0||v Pakistan||1964/65|
|RJ Shastri (India)||3||882||277||15||5/125||18.46||1||0||v New Zealand||1980/81|
|BKV Prasad (India)||3||855||375||15||5/76||25.00||1||0||v England||1996|
The West Indian spinners Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin are first and third on the list of highest wicket-takers on debut in a four-Test series. Both played their first Test at Old Trafford during the tour of England in 1950, which West Indies won 3-1. Valentine finished the series with 33 wickets while Ramadhin took 26. John Goddard was West Indies' next highest wicket-taker, with six. Valentine and Ramadhin bowled 800.2 overs between them and, bizarrely, finished with the same economy-rate of 1.59 per over. Their performances helped West Indies secure their maiden Test and series victory in England.
|AL Valentine (WI)||4||2535||674||33||8/104||20.42||2||2||v England||1950|
|FS Trueman (Eng)||4||718||386||29||8/31||13.31||2||0||v India||1952|
|S Ramadhin (WI)||4||2267||604||26||6/86||23.23||3||1||v England||1950|
|W Ferguson (WI)||4||1296||567||23||6/92||24.65||3||1||v England||1947/48|
|S Venkataraghavan (India)||4||1545||399||21||8/72||19.00||1||1||v New Zealand||1964/65|
|JC Laker (Eng)||4||1120||548||18||7/103||30.44||1||0||v West Indies||1947/48|
|W Voce (Eng)||4||1130||584||17||7/70||34.35||1||1||v West Indies||1929/30|
|GAE Paine (Eng)||4||1044||467||17||5/168||27.47||1||0||v West Indies||1934/35|
|NGB Cook (Eng)||2||812||275||17||5/35||16.17||2||0||v New Zealand||1983|
|W Bates (Eng)||4||964||334||16||4/52||20.87||0||0||v Australia||1881/82|
Australian legspinner Arthur Mailey's 36 scalps during the 1920-21 Ashes is the record for most wickets by a debutant in a five-Test series. He beat Frank Foster's tally of 32 against Australia during the 1911-12 Ashes. Mailey did not bowl in the second Test, in Melbourne. He took six wickets in Sydney, ten in Adelaide, 13 at the MCG (in the fourth Test), and seven more at the SCG. His haul of 9 for 121 in Melbourne is the best in an innings by an Australian bowler.
|AA Mailey (Aus)||5||1465||946||36||9/121||26.27||4||2||v England||1920/21|
|CEH Croft (WI)||5||1307||676||33||8/29||20.48||1||0||v Pakistan||1976/77|
|FR Foster (Eng)||5||1660||692||32||6/91||21.62||3||0||v Australia||1911/12|
|AS Kennedy (Eng)||5||1683||599||31||5/76||19.32||2||0||v South Africa||1922/23|
|WW Hall (WI)||5||1330||530||30||6/50||17.66||2||1||v India||1958/59|
|GB Lawrence (SA)||5||1334||512||28||8/53||18.28||2||0||v New Zealand||1961/62|
|WM Clark (Aus)||5||1585||701||28||4/46||25.03||0||0||v India||1977/78|
|AE Hall (SA)||4||1505||501||27||7/63||18.55||2||1||v England||1922/23|
|MW Tate (Eng)||5||1304||424||27||6/42||15.70||1||0||v South Africa||1924|
|WS Lees (Eng)||5||1256||467||26||6/78||17.96||2||0||v South Africa||1905/06|
Terry Alderman has the highest wicket-aggregate for a debutant in a six-Test series, a mark unlikely to be bettered for there hasn't been a series of such length since 1998. Alderman took 9 for 130 on debut at Trent Bridge during the 1981 Ashes and went on to take 42 wickets in the series, beating Lillee's 39. Alderman bettered Rodney Hogg's record of 41 wickets, set in the 1978-79 Ashes, and his 42 wickets is the second highest series-tally for an Australian after Clarrie Grimmett's 44 in five Tests against South Africa in 1935-36.
|TM Alderman (Aus)||6||1950||893||42||6/135||21.26||4||0||v England||1981|
|RM Hogg (Aus)||6||1740||527||41||6/74||12.85||5||2||v England||1978/79|
|DR Doshi (India)||6||1838||630||27||6/103||23.33||2||0||v Australia||1979/80|
|DG Cork (Eng)||5||1106||661||26||7/43||25.42||1||0||v West Indies||1995|
|NS Yadav (India)||5||1407||577||24||4/35||24.04||0||0||v Australia||1979/80|
|PM Such (Eng)||5||1439||541||16||6/67||33.81||1||0||v Australia||1993|
|DW Headley (Eng)||3||788||444||16||4/72||27.75||0||0||v Australia||1997|
|Ehteshamuddin (Pak)||3||748||270||14||5/47||19.28||1||0||v India||1979/80|
|RMH Binny (India)||6||725||399||11||3/53||36.27||0||0||v Pakistan||1979/80|
|MA Holding (WI)||5||1125||614||10||4/88||61.40||0||0||v Australia||1975/76|
In one-day internationals, the most wickets by a debutant in a series is 13. Shaun Pollock broke the 11-wicket mark, set by South Africa medium-pacer Eric Simons against the visiting Australians in 1993-94, when he took 13 in the seven-match series in 1995-96. That was equalled in 2008 by New Zealand medium-pacer Tim Southee, who took 13 wickets during the five-ODI series in England.
Shane Bond made the biggest splash on debut in a multi-nation one-day tournament. He took 21 wickets at 16.38 apiece in nine matches during the tri-series in Australia in 2001-02, beating established bowlers such as Glenn McGrath and Makhaya Ntini by seven wickets. The previous record was held by Simon Davis and Tony Dodemaide of Australia, who took 18 wickets each in the 1985-86 and 1987-88 World Series Cup.
|SE Bond (NZ)||9||21||5/25||16.38||1||VB Series||2001/02|
|SP Davis (Aus)||12||18||3/10||16.61||0||World Series Cup||1985/86|
|AIC Dodemaide (Aus)||10||18||5/21||16.05||1||World Series Cup||1987/88|
|MC Snedden (NZ)||10||17||3/27||21.94||0||World Series Cup||1980/81|
|BA Reid (Aus)||12||17||5/53||25.17||1||World Series Cup||1985/86|
|GD McGrath (Aus)||8||16||4/24||17.25||0||World Series||1993/94|
|B Lee (Aus)||9||16||5/27||20.00||1||Carlton & United Series||1999/00|
|IK Pathan (India)||10||16||4/24||31.06||0||VB Series||2003/04|
|DR Doshi (India)||10||15||4/30||20.86||0||World Series Cup||1980/81|
|CG Rackemann (Aus)||6||15||4/39||16.46||0||World Series Cup||1982/83|
|CJ McDermott (Aus)||11||15||3/30||32.13||0||World Series Cup||1984/85|
|SP O'Donnell (Aus)||13||14||2/19||37.35||0||World Series Cup||1984/85|
|MG Hughes (Aus)||9||14||4/44||22.07||0||World Series||1988/89|
|DR Gilbert (Aus)||9||13||5/46||28.92||1||World Series Cup||1985/86|
|SR Gillespie (NZ)||8||13||4/30||20.38||0||World Series Cup||1985/86|
Click here for the full tables.
If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.
George Binoy is a staff writer at Cricinfo