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Pakistan's debutant Test centurions

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Pakistan_debutant_Test_centurions_CricketThe first Test between Pakistan and Sri lanka may have ended in a rain-affected draw, but the last day was notable for debutant Abid Ali’s 109*. In the process, not only did Abid become the 12th man to score a ton on Test debut for Pakistan, but also the first man and the second cricketer (Enid Bakewell had completed the ‘double’ for England Women in 1973) to score a hundred on ODI as well as Test debut. In that context, here is a look at Pakistan’s debutant Test centurions.  

Khalid Ibadulla – 166 v Australia, Only Test, Karachi, 1964-65   

Khalid ‘Billy’ Ibadulla became the first Pakistani to score a hundred on Test debut in this drawn game at the National Stadium. He shared in a record opening stand of 249 with another debutant, wicketkeeper Abdul Kadir. While Kadir fell short of a hundred by getting run out for 95, Ibadulla went on to score 166 in 330 minutes. Ibadulla played the majority of his first-class cricket for Warwickshire, whom he represented from 1954 to 1972, and played four Tests in all.  

Javed Miandad – 163 v New Zealand, First Test, Lahore, 1976-77

Javed Miandad, who would go on to become one of Pakistan’s greats, was only 18 when he made his Test bow. He walked out to bat when Pakistan were struggling at 44/3, and ended up scoring 163 in 259 minutes. He was joined by Asif Iqbal (166) at 55/4, and they added 281 – Pakistan’s highest fifth-wicket stand. Pakistan racked up 417, and won by six wickets after New Zealand followed on. Miandad finished his Test career with 8832 runs, then a Pakistani record.  

Saleem Malik – 100* v Sri Lanka, First Test, Karachi, 1981-82

This was Sri Lanka’s first Test on Pakistani soil, and Malik was one of four debutants fielded by the hosts. Having taken a lead of 52, Pakistan were 53/2 in the second innings when Malik came out to bat. The promising 18-year-old was dismissed for 12 in the first innings, but made the most of the second attempt by hitting an unbeaten 100 in 191 balls and 272 minutes, which contributed towards his team’s 204-run victory. Malik logged 5768 runs in his 103- Test career.

Mohammad Wasim – 109* v New Zealand, First Test, Lahore, 1996-97

A wicket-filled opening day saw Pakistan finish at 52/5 in response to New Zealand’s 155. The fifth wicket was that of the 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim, who was bowled for a four-ball duck. Pakistan eked out a lead of 36, but New Zealand turned the tide by setting a challenging target of 276. Wasim came in at a dire 42/5, and struck a valiant 109* from 165 balls, ensuring that Pakistan’s defeat margin was limited to 44 runs. He played the last of his 18 Tests in 2000.

Ali Naqvi – 115 v South Africa, First Test, Rawalpindi, 1997-98

Aged 20, Ali Naqvi opened with his captain Saeed Anwar in his first Test innings, and made an immediate impact with a mature 115 that held Pakistan’s top order together against a strong South African bowling attack that included the likes of Allan Donald, Brett Schultz and Shaun Pollock. Naqvi batted for 352 minutes and faced 270 balls, and was the sixth man out at 206. He played only four more Tests, all in the same season, and did not cross fifty again in eight innings.  

Azhar Mahmood – 128* v South Africa, First Test, Rawalpindi, 1997-98

Naqvi’s dismissal brought to the crease his fellow debutant Azhar Mahmood. The 22-year-old all-rounder added 74 for the ninth wicket with Waqar Younis, and a record-equalling 151 for the tenth wicket with Mushtaq Ahmed (59) on the way to an unbeaten 128 that consumed 267 balls and 350 minutes, and took Pakistan to 456. He added another 50* in the second innings, as the match was drawn. This remains the only instance of two debutants scoring tons in a Test innings.

Younis Khan – 107 v Sri Lanka, First Test, Rawalpindi, 1999-00

Younis Khan, Pakistan’s highest Test run-getter with a tally of 10099, made his talent evident on debut – the 22-year-old helped his team script a comeback after a first-innings deficit of 171. Though captain Anwar scored 84, Pakistan were only 65 ahead when the eighth wicket fell. But Younis, who scored 12 in the first innings, put on 145 for the ninth wicket with Wasim Akram (79) before being last out for 107. His effort went in vain, as Sri Lanka prevailed by two wickets.

Taufeeq Umar – 104 v Bangladesh, First Test, Asian Test Championship, Multan, 2001-02

The Bangladeshi bowling was put the sword by Pakistan’s batsmen in this opening Test of the Asian Test Championship. After the Tigers were bundled out for 134, the hosts amassed 546/3 to set up a crushing win by an innings and 264 runs – only for the second time did five batsmen score centuries in a Test innings. Debutant opener Taufeeq Umar (104) cashed in too, adding 168 with fellow left-hander Anwar (101). He has played 44 Tests, the last of which was in 2014-15.  

Yasir Hameed – 170 and 105 v Bangladesh, First Test, Karachi, 2003

Batting at number three, Yasir Hameed scored 170 in 253 balls – the highest Test score on debut for Pakistan – out of a total of 346 to hand the hosts a first-innings lead of 58. Bangladesh fought hard, and set a tricky target of 217. But they ran into Yasir again, who scored 105 to steer Pakistan to a seven-wicket win and thus become the second man after West Indian Lawrence Rowe to score centuries in both innings on Test debut. He played 25 Tests in a seven-year career.  

Fawad Alam – 168 v Sri Lanka, Second Test Colombo (PSS), 2009

Pakistan skittled for 90 on the first day and ceded a lead of 150, but the left-handed Fawad Alam, having made 16 in the first dig, kept their hopes alive with a gritty 168 in 259 balls as opener, on the way adding 200 for the second wicket with Younis (82). However, Pakistan slid from 285/1 to 320 all out, and Sri Lanka sealed the series with a seven-wicket win. Alam has since played only two more Tests, though he was in the squad for the recently-ended series against Sri Lanka.

Umar Akmal – 129 v New Zealand, First Test, Dunedin, 2009-10

The naturally gifted Umar Akmal burst onto the Test scene in style. Replying to New Zealand’s 429, Pakistan were 74/3 when the 19-year-old Umar came in. It further became 85/5, but Umar, who scored 129 in just 160 balls, put on 176 for the sixth wicket with elder brother Kamran (82). Pakistan were left to chase 251 after Zealand managed only 153 in the second innings, but lost by 32 runs – Umar (75) top-scored yet again. He has so far played 16 Tests, and none since 2011.   

Abid Ali – 109* v Sri Lanka, First Test, Rawalpindi, 2019-20

Abid Ali made his Test debut at the age of 32, but grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Moreover, it was a significant occasion, it being the first Test in Pakistan in over a decade. Having already scored 112 on ODI debut against Australia at Dubai earlier in the year, the opener scored 109* from 201 balls and added an unbroken 162 for the third wicket with Babar Azam (102*) on the final day of this rain-hit draw, giving the Rawalpindi crowd reason to cheer. 



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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