Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

Bowlers are often the heart of test cricket. In the below article, we will take a look at the bowlers to take wicket on the first ball in test cricket.

The international cricket stage can often be too intimidating for players starting their careers. For bowlers in particular, finding the right lines and lengths can be a daunting task. Test cricket is considered to be the pinnacle of the three formats and can garner a lot of attention from many fans. Getting a wicket in your debut match is something that every bowler wants. Getting a wicket in the very first over can be a great start to a bowler’s career. But getting a wicket on the very first ball you bowl can only be dreamt of and can seldom be achieved. In this article, we will take a look at bowlers to take wickets on the first ball they bowled in test cricket.

Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball in test cricket

Bowler Batter Venue Match Date
Tom Horan (Australia) Walter Read (England) Sydney 26th January – 30th January, 1883
Arthur Coningham (Australia) Archie MacLaren (England) Melbourne 29th December, 1894 – 3rd January, 1895
Bill Bradley (England) Frank Laver (Australia) Manchester 17th July – 19th July, 1899
Edward Arnold (England) Victor Trumper (Australia) Sydney 11th December – 17th December, 1903
Bert Vogler (South Africa) Ernie Hayes (England) Johannesburg 2nd January – 4th January, 1906
Jack Crawford (England) Bert Vogler (South Africa) Johannesburg 2nd January – 4th January, 1906
George Macaulay (England) George Hearne (South Africa) Cape Town 1st January – 4th January, 1923
Maurice Tate (England) Manfred John Susskind (South Africa) Birmingham 14th June – 17th June, 1924
Matthew Henderson (New Zealand) Eddie Dawson (England) Christchurch 10th January – 13th January, 1930
Dennis Smith (New Zealand) Eddie Paynter (England) Christchurch 24th March – 27th March, 1933
Tyrell Johnson (West Indies) Walter Keeton (England) The Oval 19th August – 22nd August, 1939
Keith Miller (Australia) Walter Hadlee (New Zealand) Wellington 29th March – 30th March, 1946
Richard Howorth (England) Dennis Dyer (South Africa) The Oval 16th August – 20th August, 1947
Intikhab Alam (Pakistan) Colin McDonald (Australia) Karachi 4th December – 9th December, 1959
Richard Illingworth (England) Phil Simmons (West Indies) Nottingham 4th July – 9th July, 1991
Nilesh Kulkarni (India) Marvan Atapattu (Sri Lanka) Colombo 2nd August – 6th August, 1997
Chamila Gamage (Sri Lanka) Mohammad Ashraful (Bangladesh) Colombo 28th July – 31st July, 2002
Nathan Lyon (Australia) Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) Galle 31st August – 3rd September, 2011
Shaminda Eranga (Sri Lanka) Shane Watson (Australia) Colombo (SSC) 16th September – 20th September, 2011
Dane Piedt (South Africa) Mark Vermeulen (Zimbabwe) Harare 9th August – 12th August, 2014
Hardus Viljoen (South Africa) Alastair Cook (England) Johannesburg 14th January – 16th January, 2016
Nijat Masood (Bangladesh) Zakir Hussain (Afghanistan) Mirpur 14th June – 17th June, 2023
Shamar Joseph (West Indies)  Steven Smith (Australia) Adelaide 17th January – 19th January, 2024

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Tom Horan

Tom Horan in 1883, became the first bowler to take a wicket off their first ball in test cricket. Horan was a batter in the Australian side and in the 15 matches he played, he scored 471 runs at an average of 18.84 including a century and a half-century. Horan bowled for the first time in 1883 against England seven years into his test career. On the first ball he bowled, Horan dismissed Walter Read and went on to take two more wickets in the innings. Unfortunately, Horan was on the losing side of the match, but the Australian picked up eight more wickets in the test including a best bowling figure of 6/40.

Arthur Coningham

Arthur Coningham only played one test match for Australia but the all-rounder made sure to leave a mark on the international stage. Coningham took a wicket with his first ball. Archie MacLaren was the first victim of the left-arm fast bowler. Coningham was not only bowling his first ball in test cricket but was also bowling the first ball of the match making the feat even more unique.

Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley played just two matches amongst which he became the the third bowler to take a wicket with their first ball in test cricket. The Englishman dismissed Frank Laver with his first ball and even picked up a fifer in the innings. He picked up one more wicket in the next innings and went wicketless in his next match.

Edward Arnold

Edward Arnold or Ted Arnold picked up the wicket of Australian opener, Victor Trumper with his first ball in test cricket. Arnold in his short four-year-long career went on to play 10 tests for England picking 31 wickets.

Bert Vogler

The first South African player to feature on this list is Bert Vogler. The Proteas’ bowler picked up the wicket of Earnie Hayes with his first ball. Vogler played 15 test matches in his career spanning five years. In those 15 matches, he picked 64 wickets including five fifers and a solitary 10-wicket haul in the match.

Jack Crawford

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

In the same match, Bert Vogler became the first South African to take a wicket with their first ball in test cricket, he also became the first South African to be on the opposite side as Englishman Jack Crawford dismissed Vogler with his first ball in test cricket. Crawford played 12 test matches, picking 39 wickets including three fifers.

George Macaulay 

George Macaulay

George Macaulay from England picked up the wicket of his namesake from South Africa, George Hearne with his first ball in test cricket. Macaulay represented England in eight test matches picking up 24 wickets which included a solitary fifer. 

Maurice Tate

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

Maurice Tate making his debut along with Arthur Gilligan wreaked havoc on the South African batting line-up bowling them out for just 30 runs at Birmingham. Tate with his first ball in test cricket dismissed Fred Susskind. Amongst the South African batters, skipper Herbie Taylor was the highest scorer with seven runs while there were 11 runs off extras. Tate played 39 tests picking 155 wickets including seven fifers and a 10-wicket haul.

Matt Henderson

Left-arm fast bowler, Matt Henderson played a solitary test match for New Zealand. Henderson with his first ball in test cricket dismissed Eddie Dawson. 

Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith just like Matt Henderson played just one test match in his career. Smith dismissed Eddie Paynter with his first ball in test cricket. Unfortunately for Smith, that wicket was the only high point in his one-match career as he failed to pick any other wicket.

Tyrell Johnson

Left-arm fast bowler from Trinidad, Tyrell Johnson picked up the wicket of English opener, Walter Keeton with his first ball in test cricket. In his only test, Johnson also dismissed Leonard Hutton and Buddy Oldfield. The Second World War destroyed his chances of earning a second appearance.

Keith Miller

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

One of the best all-rounders of his time, Keith Miller also features on this list. The fast-bowling Australian all-rounder dismissed New Zealand skipper, Walter Hadlee. Miller played 55 test matches for Australia picking up 170 wickets including seven fifers and a 10-wicket haul. With the bat in hand, the all-rounder scored 2958 runs at an average of 36.97 hitting seven centuries and 13 half-centuries.

Richard Howorth

Richard Howorth dismissed South African batter, Dennis Dyer with his first ball in test cricket. Howorth is one of the few spinners to make it into this list so far. The left-arm orthodox bowler played five tests and picked 19 wickets including a five-wicket haul.

Intikhab Alam

There is seldom any bowling record list which does not feature Pakistani bowlers. Leg-spinner, Intikhab Alam with his first ball in test cricket dismissed Australian opening batter, Colin McDonald. Alam was not just an ordinary leg-spinner but was pretty handy with the bat as well. In the 47 tests he played, Alam scored 1493 runs at an average of 22.28 which also included a century and eight half-centuries. He also took 125 wickets including five fifers and two 10-wicket hauls.

Richard Illingworth

Umpire Richard Illingworth

Now a popular umpire, Richard Illingworth was once a bowler himself. Illingworth dismissed the West Indian opener, Phil Simmons with his first ball in test cricket. Illingworth bowled slow left-arm orthodox and played only nine test matches for England and regularly lost his place to Phil Tufnell. In those nine matches, Illingworth picked 19 wickets.

Nilesh Kulkarni

Indian bowler Nilesh Kulkarni

Nilesh Kulkarni created history by Marvan Atapattu by becoming the first and only Indian to pick a wicket off their first ball in test cricket. Kulkarni’s wicket of Atapattu was the only silver lining of the match for the bowlers of both sides as India and Sri Lanka scored 1489 runs in two innings. Kulkarni played three tests for India and failed to make any mark picking only two wickets.

Chamila Gamage

Chamila Gamage with his first ball in test cricket dismissing Bangladeshi batter, Mohammad Ashraful. Gamage only played one more test for Sri Lanka. He picked up five wickets in the two matches he played.

Nathan Lyon

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

Nathan Lyon is the highest wicket-taker among the many bowlers on this list. Lyon picked up the wicket with his fist ball in test cricket dismissing Sri Lankan great, Kumar Sangakkara. Lyon thanks to his ability to extract extra bounce from the pitch induced an outside edge from Sangakkara giving a catch to Michael Clarke. Lyon has already played 126 matches and has taken 502 wickets so far.

Shaminda Eranga

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

Sri Lankan fast bowler, Shaminda Eranga dismissed Shane Watson with his first ball in test cricket. This happened on the same tour as Nathan Lyon dismissed Kumar Sangakkara with his first ball in test cricket. Eranga went on to play 19 tests for Sri Lanka picking up 57 wickets.

Dane Piedt

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

South Africa has always been famous for its fast bowlers but right-arm off-spinner, Dane Piedt announced himself in test cricket in style by dismissing Zimbabwean batter, Mark Vermeulen with his first ball. Piedt did not stop with his first ball as he registered four-fers in both innings resulting in a Player of the Match performance. Piedt played nine test matches for South Africa picking up 26 wickets including a solitary fifer.

Hardus Viljoen

South Africa All-rounder Hardus Viljoen

Hardus Viljoen follows his compatriot, Piedt on this list. Viljoen dismissed English skipper, Alastair Cook with his first ball in test cricket. The historic test has been his only match in red-ball cricket for the Proteas and the wicket of Cook was also his only wicket so far.

Nijat Masood

Afghanistan bowler Nijat Masood

Fast bowler, Nijat Masood from Afghanistan picked up the wicket with his first ball in test cricket dismissing Bangladeshi opener, Zakir Hussain. The dismissal did not come easy as the on-field umpire gave it not out and a review from the Afghanistan team showed that Hussain had edged the ball to the keeper. Masood went on to pick a fifer in the innings but unfortunately was on the losing side as Bangladesh registered a 546-run win. That match was Afghanistan’s last in the format and are yet to play again.

Shamar Joseph

Test Records: Bowlers to take wicket on the first ball

West Indian fast bowler, Shamar Joseph is the latest entrant on this list after dismissing Australian batter, Steve Smith with his first ball in test cricket. Smith was also playing his first first-class game as an opener. Joseph has only played a single game but will be playing in the ongoing West Indies tour of Australia.