January 20, 2010

Michael Clarke's five-year wait

Players who went the greatest number of innings before improving on career highs achieved on debut, and those who never managed to

One of the ideas Travis proposed for last week's List was players who had gone the most innings without bettering their performance on debut. Michael Clarke was up there, having made 151 in his first Test in Bangalore and not gone past 150 in his next 57 matches. He promptly went and scored 166 in the third Test against Pakistan in Hobart. The 94 innings between Clarke's debut hundred and this one are the most a player has ever gone before bettering a performance on Test debut. So this week we've looked at others who took ages before improving on career highs achieved on debut, and those who never managed to.

England fast bowler Darren Gough played the most Test innings without ever improving on his debut performance - with the bat. Gough made 65 in his first Test, against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1994, and then went 85 innings with only one more half-century - 51 at the SCG in 1995.

Another England fast bowler, John Lever, reached peaks in his debut Test that he never scaled later during his career. Lever scored 53 in Delhi in 1976, took 7 for 46 in the first innings and finished with 10 for 70 in the match. He played 20 more Tests but his next best performances were an unbeaten 33 and 5 for 59.

When Chris Martin made 7 on debut in Bloemfontein in 2000, little did we realise that it wouldn't get much better for him. He equalled that career high, making another 7 at Lord's in 2004, but it wasn't until his 49th innings - 12 against Bangladesh in Dunedin in 2008 - that he bettered it.

Most career innings until improving high score from debut innings - Tests
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 Debut Score Opposition Start Date Scorecard
MJ Clarke (Aus) 2004-2010 58 94 4116 50.19 13 17 151 166 v Pakistan Jan 14, 2010 Test 1947
PBH May (Eng) 1951-1957 40 67 2921 47.11 7 15 138 285* v West Indies May 30, 1957 Test 439
IR Redpath (Aus) 1964-1969 28 49 1623 36.06 1 10 97 132 v West Indies Feb 14, 1969 Test 646
CS Martin (NZ) 2000-2008 36 49 64 2.46 0 0 7 12* v Bangladesh Jan 4, 2008 Test 1859
RM Hogg (Aus) 1978-1984 31 44 336 9.33 0 1 36 52 v West Indies Mar 2, 1984 Test 979
JHB Waite (SA) 1951-1955 19 33 855 27.58 1 5 76 113 v England Jul 7, 1955 Test 410
Tapash Baisya (Ban) 2002-2004 17 33 317 11.74 0 2 52* 66 v New Zealand Oct 26, 2004 Test 1717
PAJ DeFreitas (Eng) 1986-1991 19 28 349 12.92 0 0 40 45 v Australia Jan 25, 1991 Test 1161
KD Walters (Aus) 1965-1969 16 25 1603 72.86 5 9 155 242 v West Indies Feb 14, 1969 Test 646
TM Alderman (Aus) 1981-1984 18 25 77 6.41 0 0 12* 21* v West Indies Mar 16, 1984 Test 983
MJ Prior (Eng) 2007-2009 16 25 899 47.31 2 6 126* 131* v West Indies Mar 6, 2009 Test 1914
BR Taylor (NZ) 1965-1969 13 24 556 26.47 2 2 105 124 v West Indies Feb 27, 1969 Test 648
Khaled Mashud (Ban) 2000-2002 13 24 319 16.78 0 0 32 33 v South Africa Oct 18, 2002 Test 1619
RC Fredericks (WI) 1968-1971 12 23 666 28.95 0 5 76 80 v India Mar 6, 1971 Test 683
L Vincent (NZ) 2001-2003 13 23 738 33.54 2 6 104 106 v India Oct 16, 2003 Test 1662
J Dyson (Aus) 1977-1981 12 22 467 23.35 1 1 53 102 v England Jul 16, 1981 Test 905
AV Bedser (Eng) 1946-1948 14 21 241 15.06 0 0 30 37 v Australia Jul 8, 1948 Test 301
CZ Harris (NZ) 1992-1997 11 21 319 15.95 0 2 56 71 v Zimbabwe Sep 25, 1997 Test 1379
W Bates (Eng) 1881-1885 12 20 524 29.11 0 4 58 64 v Australia Mar 14, 1885 Test 20
GR Dilley (Eng) 1979-1981 12 20 243 18.69 0 1 38* 56 v Australia Jul 16, 1981 Test 905

Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg took 6 for 74 on debut against England at the Gabba in 1978 and then never bettered that performance in 65 further innings. It's the most anyone has played without improving on their debut bowling performance in Tests.

Brett Lee burst onto the Test circuit with 5 for 47 in the first innings against India at the MCG in 1999. That performance remained his best for ages, until November 2005, when he took 5 for 30 against West Indies in Brisbane. It remains Lee's best innings figures to date, so he's bettered his performance on debut only once in 150 innings.

Most career innings until improving best figures from debut innings - Tests
Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts Ave 5 Debut Figs Opposition Start Date Scorecard
B Lee (Aus) 1999-2005 44 86 8809 5409 167 32.38 5 5/47 5/30 v West Indies Nov 3, 2005 Test 1769
AV Bedser (Eng) 1946-1953 43 77 13671 4851 196 24.75 12 7/49 7/44 v Australia Jun 11, 1953 Test 372
FH Edwards (WI) 2003-2008 36 61 6107 4054 105 38.60 7 5/36 7/87 v New Zealand Dec 19, 2008 Test 1900
IWG Johnson (Aus) 1946-1955 35 57 7032 2513 91 27.61 3 6/42 7/44 v West Indies Apr 26, 1955 Test 405
JC Laker (Eng) 1948-1956 28 50 6972 2697 115 23.45 6 7/103 9/37 v Australia Jul 26, 1956 Test 428
DR Doshi (India) 1979-1982 26 45 7589 2508 92 27.26 4 6/103 6/102 v England Jun 24, 1982 Test 929
CH Gayle (WI) 2000-2004 45 40 2117 887 21 42.23 1 3/25 5/34 v England Jul 29, 2004 Test 1708
GS Sobers (WI) 1954-1959 23 32 3319 1262 29 43.51 0 4/75 4/26 v India Jan 21, 1959 Test 465
SR Clark (Aus) 2006-2008 16 32 3628 1579 76 20.77 2 5/55 5/32 v West Indies May 22, 2008 Test 1875
JM Anderson (Eng) 2003-2007 17 31 2927 1808 51 35.45 3 5/73 5/42 v India Jul 19, 2007 Test 1840
KF Barrington (Eng) 1955-1963 39 29 1742 742 15 49.46 0 3/36 3/32 v New Zealand Mar 1, 1963 Test 541
WP Howell (Aus) 1898-1902 15 23 2909 1032 30 34.40 0 4/70 4/18 v South Africa Nov 8, 1902 Test 77
DVP Wright (Eng) 1938-1946 12 22 2796 1483 36 41.19 1 4/153 5/167 v Australia Nov 29, 1946 Test 279
AK Davidson (Aus) 1953-1957 13 22 2060 694 23 30.17 1 2/22 6/34 v South Africa Dec 23, 1957 Test 444
JC Adams (WI) 1992-1996 23 22 958 498 14 35.57 1 4/43 5/17 v New Zealand Apr 19, 1996 Test 1325
M Hayward (SA) 1999-2002 13 22 2331 1254 45 27.86 1 4/75 5/56 v Pakistan Dec 26, 2002 Test 1635
DAJ Holford (WI) 1966-1969 15 21 2734 1249 28 44.60 0 3/34 4/66 v New Zealand Mar 13, 1969 Test 652
NM Hauritz (Aus) 2004-2009 11 21 2630 1295 41 31.58 1 3/16 5/101 v Pakistan Dec 26, 2009 Test 1943
PS Heine (SA) 1955-1957 10 19 2793 1069 45 23.75 3 5/60 6/58 v Australia Dec 23, 1957 Test 444
DW Headley (Eng) 1997-1998 12 19 2447 1380 48 28.75 1 4/72 6/60 v Australia Dec 26, 1998 Test 1436

Fidel Edwards, the West Indies fast bowler, had sparkling debuts in both Tests and ODIs. He wrecked Sri Lanka with 5 for 36 in his first Test innings, in Kingston in 2003. Only 36 Tests and 61 innings later did he improve on it, taking 7 for 87 in Napier in 2008. Edwards' 6 for 22 in Harare in 2003 is the record for best bowling figures on ODI debut. He hasn't bettered that in 50 ODIs since. For a bowler as fierce as he was, Allan Donald took a while to better his excellent debut - 5 for 29 in 8.4 overs against India in Kolkata 1991, South Africa's first-ever ODI and first match since their isolation ended. He was only the third bowler to take a five-for on ODI debut at the time. Donald's second, and last, five-wicket haul was in his 64th ODI - a 6 for 23 that shot out Kenya in Nairobi in 1996.

Most career innings until improving best figures from debut innings - ODIs
Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts Ave 5 Debut Figs Opposition Start Date Scorecard
RA Harper (WI) 1983-1993 72 68 3612 2373 63 37.66 0 3/34 3/31 v Sri Lanka Nov 3, 1993 ODI 844
AA Donald (SA) 1991-1996 64 63 3426 2282 100 22.82 2 5/29 6/23 v Kenya Oct 3, 1996 ODI 1124
W Watson (NZ) 1986-1992 59 59 3131 2156 72 29.94 0 3/15 4/27 v Pakistan Dec 30, 1992 ODI 787
MD Marshall (WI) 1980-1984 40 40 2160 1145 51 22.45 0 3/28 4/34 v Australia Apr 19, 1984 ODI 262
CD McMillan (NZ) 1997-2001 79 38 996 842 28 30.07 0 2/17 3/44 v Sri Lanka Feb 11, 2001 ODI 1688
SM Pollock (SA) 1996-1997 30 30 1645 1095 42 26.07 0 4/34 4/33 v Australia Apr 5, 1997 ODI 1191
Mashrafe Mortaza (Ban) 2001-2006 30 30 1550 1267 31 40.87 0 2/26 3/38 v Kenya Mar 23, 2006 ODI 2355
MF Maharoof (SL) 2004-2005 29 29 1166 911 34 26.79 0 3/3 4/20 v India Nov 6, 2005 ODI 2294
Abdur Razzak (Ban) 2004-2006 26 26 1367 857 38 22.55 0 3/17 4/33 v Zimbabwe Nov 30, 2006 ODI 2453
Mahmudullah (Ban) 2007-2009 24 22 810 683 11 62.09 0 2/28 2/19 v Zimbabwe Jan 23, 2009 ODI 2801
Shabbir Ahmed (Pak) 1999-2004 21 21 1100 799 20 39.95 0 3/52 3/33 v India Mar 19, 2004 ODI 2115
GC Smith (SA) 2002-2006 81 21 404 397 5 79.40 0 1/24 1/15 v Australia Jan 20, 2006 ODI 2316
KMDN Kulasekara (SL) 2003-2007 20 20 848 600 12 50.00 0 2/19 2/17 v Bangladesh Jul 25, 2007 ODI 2607
ALF de Mel (SL) 1982-1983 19 19 924 726 27 26.88 1 4/34 5/39 v Pakistan Jun 16, 1983 ODI 211
LE Plunkett (Eng) 2005-2007 19 19 877 844 22 38.36 0 3/51 3/24 v Australia Feb 2, 2007 ODI 2497
FA Rose (WI) 1997-2000 18 18 846 721 20 36.04 1 3/25 5/23 v Pakistan Apr 12, 2000 ODI 1588
Rajin Saleh (Ban) 2003-2006 40 18 527 451 15 30.06 0 3/48 4/16 v Zimbabwe Aug 6, 2006 ODI 2398
NG Cowans (Eng) 1983-1985 17 17 927 642 15 42.80 0 2/20 3/44 v India Jan 23, 1985 ODI 295
CPH Ramanayake (SL) 1986-1990 17 17 722 545 22 24.77 0 3/25 3/15 v India Dec 8, 1990 ODI 648
ARC Fraser (Eng) 1989-1990 17 17 928 564 14 40.28 0 2/25 2/21 v New Zealand Dec 13, 1990 ODI 651

Two of the five batsmen who scored centuries on ODI debut - Desmond Haynes and Andy Flower - played the most innings before bettering those performances. Haynes, whose 148 against Australia in Antigua is the highest score by a debutant, took 158 ODIs over 10 years to better his debut score, with 152 not out against India in Guyana.

Flower made his debut against Sri Lanka during the 1992 World Cup and scored an unbeaten 115 to become Pukekura Park's only centurion. His second century was also an unbeaten one against Sri Lanka but that 120 not out in Sharjah came eight years and 147 innings after his first.

Most career innings until improving high score from debut innings - ODIs
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 Debut Score Opposition Start Date Scorecard
DL Haynes (WI) 1978-1989 158 157 5883 42.94 14 33 148 152* v India Mar 21, 1989 ODI 563
A Flower (Zim) 1992-2000 150 147 4490 33.01 2 36 115* 120* v Sri Lanka Oct 21, 2000 ODI 1642
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 1996-1998 65 62 1516 25.26 2 8 102 109 v India Sep 19, 1998 ODI 1352
Rameez Raja (Pak) 1985-1987 54 53 1439 28.78 0 9 75 76 v Sri Lanka Oct 8, 1987 ODI 451
SP Fleming (NZ) 1994-1996 45 44 1291 32.27 1 9 90 106* v West Indies Mar 29, 1996 ODI 1085
Shoaib Akhtar (Pak) 1998-2003 78 35 144 10.28 0 0 36 43 v England Feb 22, 2003 ODI 1962
V Sibanda (Zim) 2003-2006 33 32 500 16.12 0 4 58 78 v Bermuda May 18, 2006 ODI 2376
J Srinath (India) 1991-1995 73 30 139 7.72 0 0 14 37 v South Africa Feb 18, 1995 ODI 977
Saleem Elahi (Pak) 1995-2002 30 30 965 34.46 2 6 102* 107 v Zimbabwe Nov 24, 2002 ODI 1901
SB Joshi (India) 1996-1999 50 29 387 19.35 0 1 48 61* v New Zealand Nov 14, 1999 ODI 1525
CRD Fernando (SL) 2001-2003 53 23 81 8.10 0 0 12* 13* v India Mar 10, 2003 ODI 1985
MA Holding (WI) 1976-1983 40 21 96 5.64 0 0 16 20 v Australia Jun 11, 1983 ODI 203
Moin Khan (Pak) 1990-1995 35 21 228 15.20 0 0 23 31 v Sri Lanka Oct 1, 1995 ODI 1004
Khaled Mahmud (Ban) 1998-2001 22 20 293 14.65 0 1 47 50 v Zimbabwe Nov 25, 2001 ODI 1774
JEC Franklin (NZ) 2001-2006 36 20 178 11.12 0 0 25* 29* v Sri Lanka Jan 6, 2006 ODI 2311
CO Obuya (Kenya) 2001-2003 25 20 236 13.88 0 0 27 29 v India Mar 20, 2003 ODI 1992
SM Patil (India) 1980-1982 20 19 470 24.73 0 4 64 84 v Pakistan Dec 17, 1982 ODI 163
PK Amre (India) 1991-1992 22 18 374 23.37 0 2 55 84* v South Africa Dec 19, 1992 ODI 784
J Smits (Neth) 2003-2009 34 18 165 18.33 0 0 26 29* v Bermuda Apr 8, 2009 ODI 2837
MA Ouma (Kenya) 2004-2007 18 18 300 17.64 0 1 49 57* v Bermuda Jan 29, 2007 ODI 2489

If there's a particular List you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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