Test cricket is all about patience and technique when it comes to batting. In the longest format of the game, it is the ability to last on the crease that is more valued, than that of run-scoring. Yet some cricketers have been renowned for their brisk run-scoring in the truest format of the game.
Usually, the first ball in cricket is a dot ball, as the batsman looks to settle down. But then are some players who like to dominate from the word go. Even then it is not every day a player scores his first run in Test cricket with a maximum. In this listicle, we will be going through the names of those players who pulled off this extraordinary feat.
The first cricketer to open his account with a six in the history of the game is Eric Freeman. He was a batting all-rounder from the late 1960s who made his debut for Australia at Brisbane in 1968 against India. It was in that game that he achieved this rare feat. Off his second ball in Test Cricket, Freeman smoked an Erapalli Prasanna delivery out of the ground.
However, the all-rounder could not survive long at the international level. He represented Australia in only 11 Tests averaging a mere 19.16 with the bat and 33.17 with the ball. Even though he was unsuccessful in the grandest stage, post-retirement, he went on to coach younger players and commentating.
The second player to achieve the feat was Carlisle Best. The West Indian made his debut in 1986 in Jamaica against England. The first two deliveries Best were bouncers from Ian Botham. The hostile welcome pumped up the then 27-year-old and he dispatched the third ball off Ian Botham for a six. This was a rare achievement as Best was the only second batsman to open his account in Test.
By achieving this feat, Best also made a name amongst the cricket fans in the West Indies. Later on, he went on to play 8 Tests for the West Indies team and scored a century against England in Barbados in 1990.
As Zimbabwe struggles to make its presence felt on the international level, Keith Dabengwa made it to the history books for them signifying a bright past. Dabengwa is the only Zimbabwean to have opened his account in Test cricket by hitting a six. The all-rounder from Zimbabwe made his debut against New Zealand in the year 2005. And got off the mark by smashing Daniel Vettori for a six. Keith managed to score 17 runs in the first inning and 4 in the second. However, New Zealand thrashed Zimbabwe by an innings and 46 runs.
Later on, the all-rounder played 2 more Tests for Zimbabwe against India. But failed to make a mark on the big stage. In his three matches for his country, he scored 90 runs at an average of 15. While he picked up 5 wickets at an average of 49.80.
The first Asian player on the list is Shafiul Islam, the first Bangladeshi to hit a six as his first scoring shot in Test cricket. He smashed the seventh ball he faced, for a maximum against India in 2010 off Amit Mishra. However, his international career was a start-stop affair. Islam has been in and out of the Bangladeshi squad in the recent past playing his last ODI in 2016 and his last Test match in 2017.
In the wickets’ column, he has 17 Test Wickets and 63 ODI wickets to his name. Shaiful’s efforts have enabled him to make it to this list of cricketers whose first scoring shot in Test cricket was a six. After a series of ins and outs, he made his comeback in white-ball cricket in the year 2019.
The second Asian player on the list is Bangladesh’s Al-Amin Hossain. Hossain failed to score on his Test debut against Ne Zealand in Dhaka in 2013. However, he opened his account in red-ball cricket by hitting the Sri Lankan great Rangana Herath for a six the following year. Hossain featured in seven Test matches scoring 90 runs with an average of 22.5.
He has found himself in trouble on numerous occasions because of his disciplinary actions. He was sent home during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup for breaking the team curfew. His mediocre performances and poor off-field behavior have ensured that he has a start-stop career on the international level.
The only batsman to hit a six off the first ball he faced in Test cricket is Mark Craig. He achieved this feat against a tall Suleiman Benn at Kingston in 2014. Craig, a right-arm off-break bowler took eight wickets to win the Man-of-the-Match award. He proved to be a handy batsman early in his career as he averaged 40+. While this grabbed the attention of the national selectors he could not perform consistently. Apart from a 10-fer against Pakistan, his performance was mediocre.
His downfall started during New Zealand’s tour of India in 2016. An indifferent tour meant that his future in international cricket was bleak. Therefore, he finds it difficult to make it to the test squad, which is one of the finest in the world at this moment.
Dhananjaya de Silva
Next on the list is Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya De Silva. He followed up his domestic performance with staggering numbers in the Super T20 Provincial Tournament to storm into the national side. In his debut series against the mighty Australians, he ended up being the top scorer for his side. To kick off the dream debut series, he hit a six off the fifth ball he faced to get off the mark in Test cricket.
Since then, he has played 32 test matches at an average of 35.31. His highest score in Test cricket is 173 and has hit over six centuries in Test cricket. While Sri Lanka is suffering because of some mediocre performances, de Silva has been one of their best players.
Kamrul Islam Rabi
It looks like Bangladesh players have a knack for getting off the mark in style. The third Bangladesh player on the list is Islam Rabi. He came into the limelight after performing exceptionally well in the Under 19 level including four-wicket hauls against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. After 47 first-class games, Rabbi made his Test debut against England team in October 2016.
Although he managed to pick only a single wicket in a series, he smashed Moeen Ali for a six to open his account. Rabi was unable to make a mark on the international stage and has been warming the benches lately. Talking about his batting, he averages just 5.67 with a bat with the highest score of 51.
The 24-year-old West Indies player made his debut against New Zealand in Wellington in December 2017. But it was not the best of debuts as he became the first cricketer to be out hit-wicket on the first ball he faced in Test cricket. In the third innings of the game, he hit Trent Boult for a six to open his account in Test cricket before being dismissed by a hit.
This enabled him to become the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to be hit wicket twice in his first two Tests. The West Indian batsman has played in six Test matches and has scored at an average of 13.83 scoring mere 166 runs. A poor run in Test cricket meant that he could not cement his place in the Test squad.
The only Indian to feature in the list is the young wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant. While his early days in international cricket were filled with low scores and criticism. The young gun is finally cementing his place in the Test side on the back some scintillating knocks. He has 1190 Test runs to his name at an average of 44. Pant’s highest Test score of 159 helped India to win a Test series for the first time in Australia.
Making his debut against England, he smashed the second ball he faced in Test cricket off Adil Rashid to get off the mark. The swashbuckling southpaw has become an important part of the Indian side. He brings to the side a counterattacking option that helped India in their recent tour Down Under.