For many batsmen, scoring a hundred in a Test match often represents the pinnacle of their career from an individualistic point of view. While few batsmen have to bide their time and wait for a while before they score their maiden Test ton, for others, it may come early into their careers. Here, we have a look at those individuals who didn’t have to wait too long to score their first hundred and are among the five youngest centurions in Test history.
Mohammad Ashraful (September 2001)
The former Bangladesh captain became the youngest Test player to score a century at 17 years and 61 days of age. After Bangladesh were bundled out for a mere 90 in their first innings of the second Test of the 2001 Asian Test Championship in Colombo and Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 555 on the scoreboard in their first innings, debutant Mohammad Ashraful gave us a glimpse of his talent in the tourists’ second innings. The right-hander scored a spirited and tenacious century on a difficult surface in the second innings as Bangladesh succumbed after scoring 328, giving Sri Lanka an innings and 137-run win. A young Ashraful scored a hard-fought 114, hitting 16 boundaries along the way at a strike rate of 53.77.
Mushtaq Mohammad (February 1961)
Mushtaq Mohammad held the record for being the youngest Test centurion for the longest time following his 101 for Pakistan during their tour of India in 1961. The hosts won the toss and scored 463 in their first innings after deciding to bat. In reply, Pakistan managed 286 in their first innings with Mushtaq top-scoring for them with a 101 that featured 19 fours. He was 17 years and 78 days of age at the time and also scored 22 in the second innings as the tourists were bowled out for 250. The match ended in a draw but Mushtaq would have taken fond memories from the game.
Sachin Tendulkar (August 1990)
The person who broke Mushtaq’s record 29 years later was a teenage Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian legend offered the cricketing world a sneak peek into his brilliance when he scored 68 while batting in India’s first innings of the second Test of their 1990 tour of England.
His 68 helped India score 432 after the hosts had posted 519 in the first innings but it was in India’s second innings when they were chasing a target of 408 that Tendulkar broke Mushtaq’s 29-year old record. He scored an unbeaten 119 at 17 years and 107 days, put on a 160-run partnership with Manoj Prabhakar to save the Test and was adjudged the Player of the Match.
Hamilton Masakadza (July 2001)
The only player from outside the Indian subcontinent on this list, Zimbabwean Hamilton Masakadza was just 17 years and 352 days old when he scored his first Test ton on the international stage. After Zimbabwe were bowled out for just 131 in the first innings of the second Test of West Indies’ tour of the African nation in 2001, the tourists scored 347 in their first innings, leaving the hosts with their back to the wall. Zimbabwe, though, produced a much better display in the second innings with Masakadza playing a starring role by scoring 119 as the match ended in a draw.
Imran Nazir (May 2000)
The swashbuckling right-hander is remembered as an explosive player in ODIs, but not many will know that he’s the second-youngest Test centurion in Pakistan cricket. Playing in the second Test of Pakistan’s tour of West Indies in 2000, Imran Nazir hit 20 fours and scored 131 at a strike rate of 72.77. He was 18 years and 154 days of age when he scored the century but unfortunately couldn’t realise his full potential and went on to play just eight Tests for Pakistan in his career.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Lakruwan Wanniarachchi