Some players make an instant impact when they play test cricket for the first time. Here are the highest scores made by batters on test debut.
What is the Highest Score on Test Debut?
The highest score on test debut is 287 by Robert Erskine Foster for England versus Australia in 1903. The match took place at the Sydney Cricket Ground from December 11th to 17th.
It’s recorded that Foster took 419 minutes to make that 287 and the innings contained 37 fours.
Top 10 Highest Individual Scores on Test Debut
Tip Foster – 287
As we have already seen, Robert Erskine Foster holds the record for the highest score on test debut.
R.E. Foster was commonly referred to as ‘Tip’ and that innings of 287 proved to be the highest first class score of his career. It came in England’s first innings total of 577 and it helped the tourists to win the game by five wickets.
Jacques Rudolph – 222
In more than 100 years of test cricket since Tip Foster’s feat, South Africa’s Jacques Rudolph has come closest to overtaking that milestone. In his debut game against Bangladesh at Chittagong in April 2003, Rudolph made an undefeated 222 from 383 deliveries.
This is an interesting statistic because Rudolph should have made his debut two years earlier. He had played for South Africa against India in 2001, making just 21, but the game was stripped of test status after match referee Mike Denness was sacked in controversial circumstances.
Lawrence Rowe – 214
West Indies’ batter Lawrence Rowe made a spectacular entry into test cricket when he was selected to play against New Zealand at Kingston in 1972. Not only did he make 214 in his debut knock, he followed it up with an unbeaten 100 in the second innings.
In a high scoring test, the match was eventually drawn.
Mathew Sinclair – 214
New Zealand’s Mathew Sinclair became the second man to make a score of 214 on test debut when he was selected to play against New Zealand in the Boxing Day test at Wellington in 1999.
Coming in on the first morning with the score on 33/1, Sinclair’s 214 from 447 balls helped the Kiwis to 538/9 declared. New Zealand went on to win by an innings and 105 runs.
Kyle Mayers – 210
One of the more recent entries on this list, Kyle Mayers is showing great promise as an all rounder for the West Indies. He can become effective in all formats, but he is largely focusing on test cricket where he made an exceptional knock of 210 on debut.
The game was played in challenging conditions against Bangladesh at Chattogram in February 2021. Mayers made a brilliant 210 not out from 310 balls as the Windies chased down a target of 395 to win by three wickets.
Brendon Kuruppu – 201
A double century on debut for Sri Lanka’s Brendon Kuruppu hinted at a long international career, but he would only play four tests in total. He was more comfortable as a limited overs hitter, but this effort was remarkable for many reasons.
Kuruppu’s 201 was only the third test double century on debut at the time. The game was played against New Zealand in 1987 with an attack containing the formidable Richard Hadlee. The knock also remains as the slowest test double hundred in first class history, coming in at 777 minutes.
Devon Conway – 200
New Zealand’s Devon Conway made an instant impact in his debut test match against England in June 2021. Playing at Lord’s, the compact left hander brought up a double hundred against an impressive home bowling attack that included Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood.
Conway made exactly 200 from 347 deliveries with 22 fours and one six.
Shikhar Dhawan – 187
India’s left handed opening batter Shikhar Dhawan plays positively in all formats of the game. He’ll largely be remembered for his limited overs career, but he has enjoyed some productive moments in red ball cricket too.
Dhawan impressed on test debut against a productive Australian attack, eventually making 187 in Mohali in March 2013. The innings came at a good tempo from 174 balls, and it contained 33 fours and two sixes. In this game, Shikhar Dhawan also put on 289 for the first wicket with Murali Vijay.
Rohit Sharma – 177
Rohit Sharma is another productive Indian opening batter who scores quickly in all forms of cricket. He holds the record for the highest individual score in One Day Internationals and he also made a great debut in the test arena.
Rohit’s first test was against the West Indies at Eden Gardens in November 2013. Batting at number 6, he made 177 in India’s first innings from 301 deliveries with 23 fours and one six. His knock helped India to a total of 453 and they went on to win the test by an innings and 51 runs.
George Headley – 176
The great George Headley is one of the best batsmen that the West Indies have ever produced. He was given the nickname of the Black Bradman and that’s an indication as to just how good he was.
Born in Panama, Headley showed early promise and made his debut against England in Bridgetown, Barbados in January 1930. After making 21 in his first test innings, George Headley showed his real quality second time around with a brilliant 176.
That innings helped to set England a target of 287 to win the game, but they fell short and the match was drawn. Unlike some players on this list, George Headley improved his figures from that point and he would eventually end his international career with 2190 runs from 22 tests with a highest score of 270.
A lot of players succumb to nerves when they first play international cricket, but there didn’t seem to be any issues with these batters. There cannot be a better way to make a mark than by compiling a seriously big score on your test debut.
There are, as always, some interesting takeaways from this list. Not all of the players here went on to enjoy long and productive test careers. In fact, for a number of batsmen on this list, their debut score went on to become their highest international knock.
Others continued to improve and, perhaps, the best of the batters here are George Headley and Rohit Sharma. There are others who can go on to build better test careers after laying a solid foundation. Devon Conway of New Zealand is the stand out batter of the current list and he may yet have time to better that debut score of 200.