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Making a Test match debut has been documented by cricketers as a surreal feeling. Playing at the highest level of the game is a dream come true for many players. Players tend to need experience at Test level to showcase their talent and full potential. 

However, many bowlers in Test cricket history have managed to mesmerise spectators on debut. With guile, determination and skill, pacers and spinners have outfoxed many batters in their very first game in the longest format of international cricket.

Albert Trott, who played for both Australia and England, holds the record for the best bowling figures on Test debut. His figures of 8/43 for Australia against England remains the best for more than a century.

Six bowlers have scalped eight wickets in an innings on debut in Test cricket. Bob Massie and Narendra Hirwani, meanwhile, feature twice in the top 10 list, courtesy of their eight-wicket hauls in both innings of their first Test for Australia and India, respectively.

Jason Krejza’s spell of 8/215 for the Aussies against India at Nagpur in 2008 is the last eight-for on Test debut. Meanwhile, Todd Murphy is the youngest Australian to grab five wickets on Test debut, after his spell of 7/124 against India at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur in February 2023.

On the other hand, South Africa’s Kyle Abbott is the last in this top 10 list after his 7/29 against Pakistan in 2013. Here’s the top 10 best bowling figures in an innings on Test debut.

Best bowling figures in an innings on Test debut

Bowler

Team

Opposition

Wickets

Runs conceded

Date

Albert Trott

Australia

England

8

43

January 11, 1895

Bob Massie

Australia

England

8

53

June 22, 1972

Narendra Hirwani

India

West Indies

8

61

January 11, 1988

Lance Klusener

South Africa

India

8

64

November 27, 1996

Narendra Hirwani

India

West Indies

8

75

January 11, 1988

Bob Massie

Australia

England

8

84

June 22, 1972

Alf Valentine

West Indies

England

8

104

June 8, 1950

Jason Krejza

Australia

India

8

215

November 6, 2008

Kyle Abbott

South Africa

Pakistan

7

29

February 22, 2013

Dominic Cork

England

West Indies

7

43

June 22, 1995

Albert Trott (Australia) - 8/43 vs England

England’s 1895 tour of Australia was a successful one, as they won the five-match Test series 3-2. However, the hosts’ right-arm spinner Albert Trott created one of the biggest headlines of the series.

Trott grabbed eight wickets, while conceding only 43 runs, in the fourth innings of the Adelaide Test to seal an Australian victory. It set the record for the best bowling figures in an innings on Test debut, a record that stands for more than 127 years.

The Victoria-born cricketer went on to play for both England and Australia. Amazingly, Trott scored 10,000-plus runs and 1,674 wickets in First Class cricket.  

Bob Massie (Australia) - 8/53 vs England

Australia’s Bob Massie is one of the two players who feature twice in this top 10 list. The Western Australian pacer made his debut at Lord’s against England on June 22, 1972.

Massie bowled a spell of 8/84 in the first innings to derail the Englishmen. If that wasn’t enough, he once again picked up eight wickets in the second innings, while conceding 31 fewer runs. 

Bob Massie’s exemplary bowling performance in both innings helped Australia win the Test by eight wickets. His spells rank second and sixth on the list of best figures on Test debut.

Narendra Hirwani (India) - 8/61 vs West Indies

Narendra Hirwani is the only Indian in the top 10 of this list. However, he made the most out of it by featuring twice, courtesy of his two eight-wicket triumphs against West Indies at Chennai in January 1988.

In a series-deciding fourth Test, Hirwani’s 8/61, which is the third-best by a bowler on Test debut, restricted West Indies to 184 in reply to India’s first innings score of 382. Meanwhile, in the fourth innings, Hirwani rattled the visitors with his 8/75, which ranks fifth on this list, to give the Indian cricket team a 255-run victory.

Hirwani, memorably, scalped the wicket of legendary West Indian batter Sir Vivian Richards on both innings of his Test debut.

 

Photo credits: Alamy

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