First Ball Wicket in Test Cricket and in Other Formats

It’s the dream of every bowler when they make their international debut. A wicket with the very first ball tells us that they have arrived and here is a sample of some of the players who have achieved this feat.

In Test Matches

Maurice Tate – 16 June 1924, against South Africa

Maurice Tate was one of England’s finest test bowlers at the start of his career and he certainly made an impression on debut. Playing against a poor South African side, the new ball pairing of Tate and Arthur Gilligan claimed all ten wickets as the tourists were dismissed for just 30.

Maurice Tate claimed figures of 4/12 and one of his victims was Fred Susskind who was caught by Roy Kilner from Tate’s first ball in test cricket.

Richard Illingworth – 5 July 1991, against West Indies

Richard Illingworth was a very competent left arm spinner in county cricket and he’s now a respected international umpire. His overall record as a bowler in test cricket was a modest one but he announced himself in the best possible way.

His first test wicket came from his very first ball and Iliingworth’s victim was none other than the great Viv Richards who was bowled via a deflection.

Nilesh Kulkarni – 3 August 1997, against Sri Lanka

A tall bowler with some good pace if the conditions were right, Nilesh Kulkarni looked to have a good future ahead of him when he took a wicket with his first ball in this test match against Sri Lanka.

Marvan Atapattu was the victim as he edged through to wicket keeper Nayan Mongia. Unfortunately this was the game where Sri Lanka made 952/6 declared. Kulkarni’s figures were 1/195 and he only played two more tests.

Nathan Lyon – 1 September 2011, against Sri Lanka

Nathan Lyon has developed into Australia’s most effective wicket taking spinner since Shane Warne. He’s taken over 400 wickets in tests and one of those came from his very first delivery.

Against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2011, his victim was Kumar Sangakkara who edged to Michael Clarke at slip.

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon with_Jonny Bairstow


Geoff Arnold – 24 August 1972, against Australia

Geoff Arnold had already been playing test cricket for England when he was drafted in for this One Day International against Australia at Old Trafford.

With the first ball of the second over of the game, Arnold bowled Australia’s Graeme Watson. It was his first ball in this format and it left the Aussies reeling on 0-1.

Rikki Clarke – 17 June 2003, against Pakistan

Rikki Clarke was an effective all-rounder who maybe should have played more than 20 limited overs internationals for England. The signs were certainly positive as he took a wicket with his very first delivery in the ODI format.

Playing against Pakistan at Old Trafford in June 2003, Clarke dismissed Imran Nazir when he had the opener caught by Vikram Solanki.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 30 December 2012, against Pakistan

One of India’s most effective seam bowlers became an instant hero when he took a wicket with his first ball in ODIs. Great rivals Pakistan were the opponents and Chennai was the venue as Bhuvi began his spell.

With his the very first ball of Pakistan’s innings, Mohammad Hafeez left the ball but it was a bad misjudgement as Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s delivery crashed into off stump.

Maheesh Theekshana – 07 September 2021 against South Africa

At the time of writing in August 2022, this is the most recent case of a bowler taking a wicket with his first delivery in ODIs. Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana enjoyed an impressive debut against South Africa, claiming figures of 4/37 in a 78 run win.

One of those wickets came from his very first delivery. Janneman Malan was the victim as he edged to the solitary slip fielder.

In T20

Virat Kohli – 31 August 2011, against England

An unlikely name kicks this list off. He may be known as one of the best all round batters in world cricket but Virat Kohli can also bowl some useful medium pace.

Playing against England at Old Trafford in 2011, Kohli claimed the prize scalp of Kevin Pietersen with his first delivery. This wasn’t Kohli’s first game in this format and that underlines how unusual this dismissal was as KP was stumped by MS Dhoni off a part time bowler.

Michael Kasprowicz – 17 February 2005, against New Zealand

History was made in February 2005 as Australia and New Zealand contested the first ever T20 international in Auckland. Within that game, Australian seamer Michael Kasprowicz also set a record as the first man to take a wicket with his first delivery in the new format.

New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming was the victim, bowled by Kasprowicz for 18.

Michael Kasprowicz
Michael Kasprowicz

Ajit Agarkar – 1 December 2006, against South Africa

Indian seamer Ajit Agarkar only played in four T20 internationals, taking just three wickets. One of those wickets came with his very first ball in a one-off game against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2006.

It wasn’t his best delivery. The ball was short and wide outside of the off stump but South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs hit it straight to Suresh Raina at cover to give Agarkar instant success in the shortest format of the game.

Lewis Gregory – 3 November 2019, against New Zealand

England’s Lewis Gregory is a very capable all round player who has been on the fringes of the limited overs squads for some time. He’s yet to nail down a regular place but he’s looked to take all the opportunities that have come his way so far.

On his T20i debut against New Zealand in Christchurch, Gregory didn’t bowl. In the follow up match in Wellington, he struck with his very first delivery. Colin de Grandhomme was the Kiwi batter as the ball took a slight deflection from his pad before hitting off stump.

Lewis Gregory
Lewis Gregory


As we’ve seen from the above list, taking a wicket with your first ball in international cricket doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have a long and prestigious career. There are some interesting names and not all of them will be familiar to casual cricket fans.

This feat does, however, ensure a place in cricketing history and it’s certainly been interesting for me to work through this list.