Mitchell Starc is set to miss the Boxing Day Test due to injury, with Jackson Bird tipped as his replacement – but there is a chance a baggy green debut could be handed to a untried bowler for the MCG clash.
For this edition of CBS Top 5, we’ve gone through the archives to reveal the best bowling match figures by Australian Test debutants in the post-WWII era.
5. Laurie Mayne – 8/99 v West Indies, 1965
Robust WA fast bowler Mayne produced a stellar debut in the 1965 series opener in Kingston, taking 4/43 and 4/56. But despite also chipping in with 9 and 11 as Australia’s No.11, the tourists were swamped by 179 runs. Poor returns in the following two Tests cost Mayne his place, but he was recalled four years later and played a further three matches in India and South Africa. Mayne took 203 wickets in 58 first-class matches.
4. Terry Alderman – 9/130 v England, 1981
The swing-bowling Alderman began carving his niche in Ashes folklore shortly before his 25th birthday on Australia’s 1981 tour of England. In the first Test at Trent Bridge, Alderman took 4/68 and 5/62 as England crumbled in both innings, spearheading a four-wicket win for the visitors. He took a phenomenal 42 wickets in the six-Test series – which remains an Ashes record for an Australian bowler – but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-1 series loss. Alderman was an intermittent member of the Test side during the 1980s due to injury and his involvement in the rebel tour to South Africa, but he reprised his starring role in England in 1989 with 41 wickets to lead Australia to a 4-0 triumph. He finished his Test career in 1991 with 170 wickets from 41 matches.
3. Stuart Clark – 9/89 v South Africa, 2006
Clark’s impressive 24-Test tenure in the Australian side (2006-09) started in sensational fashion. The 30-year-old snared 5/55 and 4/34 in Australia’s 7-wicket victory over the Proteas in Cape Town and finished the three-match series with 20 wickets. They would be Clark’s best match figures, but he was a valued member of the Test team for three years and took 94 wickets at 23.86.
2. Jason Krezja – 12/358 v India, 2008
NSW 25-year-old Krezja spun his way into the record books in the deciding Test on Australia’s tour of India. He joined rare company by taking 8/215 in India’s first dig, but he also set a new record for the most runs conceded by bowler in their first Test innings. Krezja added four more scalps to become just the fourth player ever to take 12 wickets on Test debut, but Australia lost by 172 runs and he was dumped after just one more appearance, a loss to South Africa in Perth in which he had match figures of 1/204 (though he did make 30* and 32 with the bat). He may be little more than a curiosity in the annals of Test history, but Krezja can take immense pride in having dismissed all-time greats VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni twice in the same Test, as well as claiming the prized scalps of Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.
1. Bob Massie – 16/137 v England, 1972
West Australian medium-fast bowler Massie shattered Englishman Fred Martin’s 82-year-old record (12/102) by taking eight wickets in each innings of his Test debut at Lord’s, which powered the Aussies to an eight-wicket win. Three of his first-innings victims were out bowled and two lbw, while in the second innings all eight were out caught. The mutton-chopped 25-year-old failed to kick on, however, playing just five more Tests in the ensuing seven months and eventually losing his place in the WA state side. Massie’s all-time record was eclipsed by Indian spinner Narendra Hirwani, who took 16 wickets and conceded one less run against the West Indies in Chennai in 1988.
Note: Remarkably, each of the top five best bowling efforts on debut in the post-war era were achieved overseas, with Wayne Clark’s 8/147 at the Gabba in 1977 the best figures on Australian soil during that period. Clarrie Grimmett’s 11/82 v England in Sydney in 1925 is the all-time record for a bowler on debut in Australia.