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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Devon Conway basks in glory with a double ton in Test debut


Devon Conway is basking in glory at Lords after joining a long list of 111 players – and there are 15 of them who have made it for India.  ‘Century on debut’ – Conway has garnered more glory.

Lala Amarnath; RH Shodhan; AG Kripal Singh; Abbas Ali Baig; Hanumant Singh; Gundappa Viswanath; Surinder Amarnath; M Azharuddin; Pravin Amre; Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina; Shikhar Dhawan; Rohit Sharma & Prithvi Shaw.  Now reading this list, can you tell – who was the first Indian to make a century on debut as also the Second Indian to do so ?

The first batsman to achieve this feat was Charles Bannerman playing for Australia against England in the very first test in Mar 1877 – scoring 165*  

At Lords – yesterday, Test no. 2422 between New Zealand and England got off to a start.  This is a not a regular series, perhaps this will give England some money while New Zealand some good training opportunity before the face the Indians in Test challenge.  England is without IPL stars.  By the time the Test series was arranged, the ECB had already agreed to allow its top players to appear in the IPL: contracts had been signed and no-objection certificates agreed. At the same time, the ECB has been keen to ensure players exposed to sustained times in bio-bubbles would be given time to refresh and see friends and family. It was accepted they would not be involved in this series. And remember: there are no WTC points available here !

There were 3 debutants :  Devon Conway for NZ; James Bracey & Ollie Robinson for England.  Ollie Robinson took 4 wickets in the first innings of NZ but  while he was on the cricket field, bitter and spiteful social media scourers were digging up the Twitter history of the teenage Ollie Robinson, who has been open about his troubled past.  He was brutally trolled for his racist and sexist  comments earlier.

The post is on Devon Conway, who started playing in South African domestic cricket. In August 2015, he was included in Gauteng's for Africa T20 Cup. He played in all three matches for Gauteng, scoring 53 runs. Gauteng (formerly Transvaal) is the first-class cricket team of the southern parts of Gauteng province of South Africa. The team was called Transvaal from April 1890 to April 1997 (the area north of Johannesburg, including Pretoria being part of the Northerns, formerly Northern Transvaal).  Conway arrived in Wellington in August 2017. He joined Victoria University Cricket Club in a dual capacity as player and coach. Within four days of landing in the country, he had found accommodation and had "fallen in love with Wellington". He was to say - "I sold my property, car and everything that we couldn't bring over, because I wanted to close that chapter and start afresh," he says. "If I hadn't done that and my cricket didn't feel all right after one season, I might have started thinking on the lines of 'Maybe I can move back'. I didn't want to."

Conway, the 29-year-old South African-born player, was  preferred to Tom Blundell or Will Young and opened  the batting alongside Tom Latham yesterday and straightaway made an outstanding start to his international career. After three ODIs, he is averaging 75 and made a maiden international century in his most recent game, while in T20Is, he is averaging 59.12 with an impressive strike-rate of 151.11 having twice been left undefeated in the 90s, including an unbeaten 99 against Australia in Christchurch.

New Zealand batsman Devon Conway on Wednesday not only became the sixth cricketer to hit a Test hundred on his debut at Lord's but also broke former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly's record at the venue.   The left-handed batsman was unbeaten on 136 as New Zealand marched to a strong position, finishing Day 1 at 246 for three.  Today, he almost carried his bat through becoming the last man out at 122.4 – run out after completing his double ton.  He got to his double hundred with a hooked six off Anderson... and then in the next over was run out. 

This is the  seventh-highest score by a man on Test debut, and the second-highest for NZ, but he doesn't manage to carry his bat. A superb innings from Conway, nevertheless, and all the more so given the next-highest score was Nicholls' 61. From 288 for 3, he ensured NZ reached a good score.  Devon Conway went past former England cricketers Ranjitsinhji and WG Grace. Ranjitsinhji held the record for the highest score by a debutant in England for 125 years. He had scored an unbeaten 154 against Australia in 1896 in Manchester. Grace had scored 150 on debut against Australia back in 1880 in Manchester.

Now if you had answered the Q at the start.  The first and second Indians to score a century on debut is none from that list of 15 starting from Lala Amarnath.

The senior Nawab of Pataudi, Iftikhar Ali Khan, is the only Test cricketer to have played for both England and India. Educated at Aitchison's College, Lahore and Balliol College, Oxford, he made the England squad for the 1932-33 Bodyline series.  Though he scored a century on debut (the Second Indian to make a century on debut), he was dropped after the next Test, apparently because he disagreed with the tactics of Douglas Jardine, and returned home before the end of the tour.  That was Test no. 220 at Sydney in Dec 1932.  He played for England against Australia. 

The first Indian to score a century on debut was KS Ranjit Sinhji. Ranji, an Indian prince, was probably one of the finest batsmen of all time, not only in terms of runs scored but also because he brought new strokes to the game  He arrived at Cambridge in 1891 (where he acquired the nickname "Smith") never having played an organised game and won a Blue in his final summer. After serving his qualification, he marked his debut for Sussex at Lord's in May 1895.  He made his debut at Manchester in July 1896 playing for England against Australia scoring 62 and 154 not out.  

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd June 2021.


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