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M. Shoaib Ahmed
On March 9, 2001, Mohammad Sami became the fourth Pakistani bowler (after Intikhab Alam, Shahid Nazir and Fazl-e-Akbar) and 79th in the world to claim a wicket in his first over of a Test match, when he got New Zealand opener Mark Richardson yorked with his fifth delivery on the second day of the first Test match at Eden Park, Auckland.
The feat of capturing a wicket in the first over on Test debut is not as rare as it seems. It has taken place on as many as 79 occasions, thirty for England, thirteen for New Zealand, eleven for Australia, seven for West Indies, five for India, four for Pakistan, four for South Africa, three for Sri Lanka and two for Zimbabwe.
The prime feat is, of course, to capture a wicket with the first delivery of the first over bowled by a test debutant. There are twelve bowlers who have achieved this feat, the last being India's left arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni who bowled Sri Lanka's opener Marvan Atapattu at Colombo (RPS) in 1997.
The others to do so are six Englishmen: Bill Bradley v Aus (Victim: F. Laver) at Manchester 1899, Ted Arnold v Aus (V.T. Trumper) at Sydney 1903-04, George Macaulay v SA (G.A.L. Hearne) at Cape Town 1922-23, Maurice Tate v SA (M.J. Susskind) at Birmingham 1924, Dick Howarth v SA (D.V. Dyer) at The Oval in 1947 and Richard Illingworth v WI (P.V. Simmons) at Nottingham in 1991. An Australian, Arthur Coningham v Eng (A.R. Maclaren) at Melbourne 1894-95, two New Zealanders namely, Matthew Henderson v Eng (E.W. Dawson) in 1929-30 and Horace Dennis Smith v Eng (E. Paynter) in 1932-33 both at Christchurch, a Pakistani, Intikhab Alam v Australia (C.C. McDonald) at Karachi in 1959-60, and a West Indian, Tyrell Francis Johnson v Eng (W.W. Keeton) at the Oval in 1939.
One finds it quite extraordinary that, an Aussie Coningham, two Kiwis, Henderson and Smith and a West Indian Johnson, were never again chosen to represent their country after their only Test appearance, when they took a wicket with the very first delivery. As amazing as the classic instances of batsmen, Andy Ganteaume of West Indies and Robert Redmond of New Zealand, who scored a debut century in the first and only Test of their career, and then never appeared again in Test cricket.
Seven bowlers have also claimed a wicket in their first over on debut, New Zealand's Alan Fisher Lissett v WI (A.P. Binns) at Dunedin 1955-56; Eric William Dempster v SA (D.J. McGlew) at Auckland 1952-53 and Bert Sutcliffe v Eng (A. Wharton) at Headingley in 1949, England's A Hornby v Aus (F.E. Allan) at Melbourne in 1878-79; Maurice Leyland v WI (G. Challenor) at The Oval 1928; M.S. Nicholas v NZ (H. Foley) at Christchurch in 1929-30 and West Indies' Lester Anthony King v Ind (M.L. Jaismha) at Kingston in 1961-62. But I am unable to trace which specific delivery of the first over it was. Can any reader throw some light on this?
Those who have taken a wicket with the second ball of their first over on Test debut are two Englishmen, Wilf Barber v SA (H.B. Cameron) at Leeds in 1935 and Bob Appleyard v Pak (Hanif Mohammad) at Nottingham in 1954. Four Australians, Colin McCool v NZ (D.A.N. McRae) at Wellington in 1945-46; Frank Mission v WI (C.C. Hutton) at Melbourne in 1960-61; Peter Philpott v WI (C.C. Hunte) at Kingston in 1964-65 and Geoff Dymock v NZ (J.M. Parker) at Adelaide in 1973-74, two South Africans George Alexander Rowe v Eng (T.C.O'Brian) at Johannesburg in 1895-96 and Geoffrey Walter Ashton Cubb v England (J.T. Ikn) at Nottingham in 1951; and a West Indian John Cameron v Eng (H. Gimblett) at Lord's in 1939 and a New Zealander, Bruce Alexander Grenfell Murray v India (S. Abid Ali) at Wellington in 1967-68.
The bowlers who claimed a wicket with their third ball are three Englishmen, Rolly Jenkins v SA (E.A.B. Rowan) at Durban in 1948-49; Mike Hendrick v India (E.D. Solkar) at Manchester in 1974 and Greame Hick v WI (P.V. Simmons) at Lord's in 1991, two Australians, Ian Johnson v Eng (L. Hutton) at Sydney in 1946-47 and Eric Freeman v India (S. Abid Ali) at Brisbane in 1967-68. Two Sri Lankans, Kuruppuarachchi v Pak (Mudassar Nazar) in 1985-86 and Duleep Liyanage v Ind (M.A. Taylor) in 1992-93, both at Colombo, two West Indians, Peter Lashley v Eng (G. Boycott) at Leeds in 1966 and Cletan Lambert v Eng (M.R. Ramprakash) at The Oval in 1991, two New Zealanders, Keith Thomson v India (F. M. Engineer) at Wellington in 1967-68 and Brendon Bracewell v Eng (G.A. Gooch) at The Oval in 1978, an Indian Manohar Hardikar v WI (R.B. Kanhai) at Bombay in 1958-59 and a Zimbabwean, Henry Olanga v Pak (Saeed Anwar) at Harare in 1994-95.
Those who took a wicket with their fourth ball are eight Englishmen, Nobby Clarke v SA (R.H. Caterall) at the Oval in 1929; Dough Wright v Aus (J.H.W. Fingleton) at Nottingham in 1938; Jim Laker v West Indies (C.L. Walcott) at Bridgetown 1947-48; Harold Rhodes v Ind (P. Roy) at Leeds in 1959; David Steele v Aus (A.A. Mallett) at Lord's 1975, John Emburey v NZ (B.A. Edgar) at Lord's in 1978, Edward Ernest Hemmings v Pak (Javed Miandad) at Birmingham in 1982 and Chris Cowdrey v Ind (Kapil Dev) at Bombay in 1984-85, two West Indians, David Holford (F.J.Titmus) at Manchester in 1966 and Jimmy Adams v SA (W.J. Cronje) at Bridgetown 1991-92, an Australian, Fredrick William Freer v Eng (C. Washbrook) at Sydney in 1946-47, a South African Athol Matthew Rowan v England (L. Hutton) at Nottingham 1947, an Indian, Woorkery Raman v WI (C.A. Walsh) at Madras 1987-88, a New Zealander Gordon Lindsay Weir (G. B. Legge) at Wellington in 1929-30 and a Sri Lankan, Saliya Ahangama v Ind ( M.A. Azharuddin) at Colombo in 1985-86, a Zimbabwean, Robert Peall v Pak (Aamer Sohail) and a Pakistani Shahid Nazir v Zim (A.D.R. Campbell) at Sheikhupura in 1996-97.
Those who took a wicket with their fifth ball are five Englishmen, George Simpson, Hayward v SA (J.W. Zulch) at Johannesburg 1909-10; Len Coldwell v Pak (Imtiaz Ahmed) at Lord's 1962; Robin Jackman v WI (C.G. Greenidge) at Bridgetown 1980-81; Darren Gough v NZ (Martin Crowe) at Old Trafford 1994 and Ronnie Irani v Ind (M.A. Azharuddin) at Edgbaston in 1996, an Australian, Ashley Mallett v Eng (M.C. Cowdrey) at The Oval in 1968, a South African, Graham Anton Chevalier v Aus (A.P. Sheahan) at Cape Town in 1969-70, a New Zealander, Brain Yuile v Eng (E.R. Dexter) at Auckland in 1962-63, and two Indians, Montu Banerjee v WI (D.St E. Atkinson) at Calcutta in 1948-49, Chetan Sharma v Pak (Mohsin Khan) at Lahore in 1984-85 and a Pakistani, Mohammad Sami v NZ (Mark Richardson) at Auckland in 2000-01.
Those who took a wicket with their sixth ball are five Englishmen Maurice Leyland v WI (G. Challenor) at The Oval 1928, Edward Winchester Clarke v SA (R.H. Catterall) at The Oval 1929, Geoff Pullar v WI (F.M.M. Worrell) at Port-of-Spain 1959-60; Mike Selvey v WI (R.C. Fredericks) at Manchester in 1976 and Derek Pringle v Ind (Yashpal Shrama) at Lord's in 1982, a South African, Denys Paul Beck Morkel v Eng (P. Holmes) at Johannesburg in 1929-30, an Indian, Vaman Kumar v Pak (Imtiaz Ahmed) at Delhi 1961-62 and a Pakistani Fazl-e-Akbar v SA (G. Kirsten) at Durban in 1997-98.
Two Australian bowlers captured a wicket with the seventh delivery of their first over (8 ball over), Ron Gaunt v SA (R.J. Westcott) at Durban in 1957-58 and Tony Mann v Ind (G.R. Viswanath) at Brisbane in 1977-78.
It may be noted that Aussie, Ian Johnson, West Indians Peter Lashley and Cleton Lambert, New Zealand's Bruce Murray and Keith Thomson and England's Greame Hick had made their debut in an earlier Test before they bowled their first over in a later Test.