In 142 years of Test cricket, 101 players have posted a century on debut. Current Australian stars Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh racked up triple figures in their maiden Test outings – with Voges becoming the 101st ever – as did Michael Clarke and Marcus North.
But those recent spectacular stunning introductions into the Test arena were not enough to force their way into the top five highest debut scores in Australian Test history, which is the focus of today’s Daily Top 5.
MOST RUNS ON TEST DEBUT BY AN AUSTRALIAN
5. Doug Walters – 155 v England, 1965
One of Australia’s most beloved cricketing characters provided an early taste of his batting genius with 155 on debut against England as a 19-year-old. The Gabba clash was drawn, but Walters went on to carve out one of the great careers. He scored 115 in the following match and was a permanent fixture in the Australian line-up for 16 years, posted 15 centuries in in 74 matches at an average of 48.26.
4. Wayne Phillips – 159 v Pakistan, 1983
South Australian opener Phillips shared in a 259-run stand with Graham Yallop on debut, hitting 20 fours in a sensational 246-run knock. Australia powered on to an innings victory over Pakistan at the WACA, but Phillips scored just one more century in his 27-Test career, which included a stint as wicketkeeper.
3. Kepler Wessels – 162 v England, 1982
Born in Bloemfontein, Wessels spent four years opening the batting for Australia and smashed the first of four centuries in the baggy green while on debut. The South African native’s 162 from a 343 balls underpinned Australia’s seven-wicket win over England at the Gabba; he added 46 in the second innings for the fourth-highest aggregate on debut in Test history at the time (it still ranks seventh). Wessels went on to become South Africa’s first captain after the nation’s readmission to the international arena in 1992.
2. Archie Jackson – 164 v England, 1929
Archie Jackson’s cricketing story began with 164 as a 19-year-old Test debutant in a thrilling 12-run loss to England at Adelaide Oval; the opener made 36 in the second innings for an aggregate of 200, the third-highest ever for a debutant at the time and still 10th on the list. But Jackson became a tragic figure, dying of tuberculosis at the age of just 23 with his career only eight Tests old. Some contend that the gifted Jackson would have rivalled Bradman as the greatest batsman the game has ever seen.
1.Charles Bannerman – 165* v England, 1877
Australian opener Bannerman, born in the English town of Kent, holds a cherished place in cricket’s narrative as the scorer of the first runs and the first history in Test history. Bannerman plundered 165 before retiring hurt in the first innings of Australia’s 45-run win over England in Melbourne in the inaugural Test. Bannerman played two more matches with a next-best score of 30, but his unbeaten 165 remains the 11th-hightest score on debut in Test history.