It will be a big day for Afghanistan Cricket when the national cricket team will play its first ever Test match since being awarded Test status to become full member of the ICC. Afghanistan is set to play against World No 1 Team India, on June 14 at Bengaluru. It will be a historic moment for the Afghanistan team who have been impressive in the shorter formats. So, before the historic first Test of Afghanistan, let’s go down memory lane, and look back at when the other 11 Test-playing nations made their Test debut.
England and Australia
March 15, 1877, witnessed the first Test in the history of cricket between Australia and England at Melbourne. It was a timeless Test. Australia won the toss and electing to bat first scored 245 runs in the first innings. Aussie Charles Bannerman becomes the first batsman in the Test history to score a century. Bannerman scored an amazing 165 off 285 balls with help of 18 boundaries before he got retired hurt. England have then bowled out for 196 in the first innings and Aussie bowler William Midwinter became the first to take 5 wickets in an innings.
In the second innings, Australia were bundled out for just 104, leaving a target of 152 for England to win the first-ever Test match. However, England were bowled out for 108 runs and Australia registered a victory in the first-ever Test with a margin of 45 runs. In the second innings, Australia’s Tom Kendall picked up 7 wickets.
South Africa’s first Test was against England at Port Elizabeth on March 12, 1889. England won the Test by 8 wickets and handed South Africa a defeat in their maiden Test. The home team won the toss and elected to bat first. Proteas was bowled out for just 84 runs in the first innings and in return England scored 148 and took a lead of 64 in low scoring match. In the second innings, South Africa scored 129 and gave England a target of 65 runs which they chased easily, losing only two wickets in the process.
It was a memorable debut for the West Indies. They were introduced to Test cricket at the ‘Home of Cricket’ Lord’s Stadium in London. The Test started on June 23, 1928, and ended on June 26 with second day declared as a rest day. Similar to England and South Africa, Windies struggled in their maiden Test and their margin of defeat was also huge.
In that Test, host England, winning the toss, elected to bat first and scored 401 runs and bowled out the Windies twice in the match, first for 177 and then 166 after enforcing the follow-on. The Windies lost the Test by an innings and 58 runs.
Like South Africa, West Indies, the New Zealanders (Kiwis) made their Test debut against a strong English team. The year was 1930 at Lancaster Park in Christchurch. After winning the toss, Kiwis were bowled out for 112. The English replied strongly in their first innings by scoring 181 runs and took a lead of 69. In the second innings, the hosts batted a bit better and scored 131, leaving a target of just 62 runs which the English team chased out comfortably and won the Test with 8 wickets in hands.
And thus, the Kiwis too continued the tradition of losing their maiden Test alongside with England, West Indies and South Africa.
Like the others, India too started their Test campaign against England in June 1932 and the venue was Lord’s Cricket Ground. The Indian cricket team was led by CK Nayudu. England’s experience reflected in the overall result of the match. The English team score 259 in their first innings and the visitors managed 189, handing a 70-run lead to the hosts. In the second innings, the hosts declared their innings at 275/8 and bowled out India for 187. England won the Test by a big margin of 158 runs. And thus, India become the sixth Test-playing nation and fifth to lose their maiden Test.
The highest scorer for India was CK Nayudu who scored 40 runs.
Pakistan played their maiden Test against India in October 1952 at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. India thrashed the new entrants by an innings and 70 runs in the first ever Test.
In their first innings, India scored amazing 372 thanks to brilliant innings by Hemu Adhikari (81). India then bundled out Pakistan for merely 150 runs with Vinoo Mankad picking up 8 wickets. Later, Pakistan was asked to follow-on and then bowled out for 152, thanks again to Vinoo Mankad who picked up 5 wickets, 13 overall. Interestingly, Pakistan became the 7th Test playing nations who couldn’t win their maiden Test.
Sri Lanka was the third nation from Asia to play Test cricket, 50 years after India played their first Test and 30 after Pakistan. Sri Lanka, the eighth nation, too suffered a defeat in its maiden Test. The Test was played at Colombo and the hosts was again the English team. The test was played in February 1982 and the team recorded their first victory in a match against India on 6 September 1985.
The Lankans started off well by scoring 218 runs in the first innings and then bowled out the strong English team for 223. But the hosts collapsed in the second innings for just 175 and England easily chased the target with 7 wickets in hand.
Zimbabwe became the 9th Test playing nation. The team has record of not losing its first ever Test. Zimbabwe played their first Test against India in October 1992 at Harare. The hosts dominated the Test for the most part. Riding high on skipper Houghton’s 121, Zimbabwe scored 456 in their first innings and then bowled out India for 307, thus taking the lead of 149 runs. The match was ended up in a draw and, apart from Australia, Zimbabwe is the only nation not to lose its first-ever Test match.
Bangladesh played their first Test against India and Dhaka in November 2000. The hosts had an impressive start to their Test career, scoring 400 runs in the first innings and then bowled out Indian team for 429. In their second innings, Bangladesh collapsed for just 91 and India chased the target easily with 9 wickets in hand. Aminul Islam Bulbul scored 145 in the first innings, becoming the third person to have scored a century in their team’s maiden Test. Captain Naimur Rahman took six wickets for 132 runs, the second-best bowling figures in a country’s maiden Test.
The team was declared a Test-playing nation in June 2017. Ireland played their first Test against Pakistan in May 2018 at Dublin’s Malahide at the Village in front of a near-capacity crowd. The Test was reduced to four-day after the first day was washed out. On the second day, Ireland won the toss and opted to bowl. After four interesting days of Test cricket, Pakistan emerged victorious by five wickets. However, despite the result, Ireland have made a convincing start and can go further in red ball cricket. With the defeat, Ireland failed to emulate Australia’s feat of winning their maiden Test match.