Afghanistan recently became the 12th nation to garner Test status by the ICC and played their debut Test against World’s No.1 Test team, India at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
While their Test debut may not have gone according to the script, it is surreal to see the rise of Afghan Cricket in the past 10 years. India gave the Afghans a harsh reality check as to what Test Cricket really is and beat the newbies inside two days to bring up their highest Test win (an innings & 262 runs) in terms of an innings.
That said, Afghanistan is not the only team to have played their debut Test against India. In the past, there have been three more teams, who played their inaugural Test against the Men in Blue.
Here’s my compilation:-
When: Zimbabwe vs India, October 18-22, 1992
As a prelude to their historic visit to South Africa in the winter of 1992, India visited Zimbabwe to take part in the African nation’s debut Test match.
Zimbabwe, who had made their World Cup debut back in 1983 were granted Test status by the ICC in July 1992.
Zimbabwe team boasted of future stalwarts in Alastair Campbell, Grant Flower, Dave Houghton and Andy Flower, and batted first in their inaugural Test. Skipper Dave Houghton scored a pristine hundred (121) and followed by gritty contributions by Grant Flower (82), Campbell (45) and a defiant 59 off 201 balls, by a certain Andy Flower, powered the hosts to a comprehensive 456 in their first innings.
In reply, India’s middle-order was jolted by John Traicos (5-86) incisive bowling as he claimed Tendulkar (0), Azharuddin (9) and Raju (7) to leave the tourists reeling at 5-101. A defiant hundred from Manjreker (104) and a 95-ball-60 by Kapil Dev took India to a respectable 307 all out.
Kapil Dev continued his batting form with the ball as well as he nipped out Grant Flower (6) and Alastair Campbell (0) to leave the hosts reeling at 2-16 in their second innings, but a 73-run partnership between Andy Pycroft (46) and skipper Dave Houghton (41) ensured Zimbabwe’s debut Test ended in a draw.
When: Bangladesh vs India, Dhaka, November 10-13, 2000
After winning the ICC Trophy in 1997 and a berth in the 1999 ICC World Cup, Bangladesh after much efforts went on to gain the Test status, after having got as many as nine votes in the ICC meeting and hosted India in their inaugural Test at Dhaka.
Bangladesh batted first against Sourav Ganguly’s side and on the back of scintillating 145 by Aminul Islam and Habibul Bashar’s 71 posted an impressive 10-400 in their first innings. Left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi racked up 5-142 for the visitors.
Skipper Ganguly led India’s reply with a tenacious 84 and was ably supported by spinner Sunil Joshi, who followed his five-wicket-haul with a 92 to help the Men in Blue post 429 and gain a lead of 29 in the first innings. Trailing by just 29 in the second innings, Bangladesh’s inexperience was exposed to the hilt when they were bowled out for a poultry 91, with Habibul Bashar top-scoring with 30.
India requiring 64 to win romped home by nine wickets, giving Bangladesh a harsh arrival to Test cricket.
When: Pakistan vs India, Delhi, October 16-18, 1952
Within five years of partition, Pakistan played their debut Test against India at Delhi in October 1952.
India, led by Lala Amarnath batted first and on back of gritty contributions from Hazare (76), Adhikari (81), and a defiant fifty from spinner Ghulam Ahmed scored a competitive 372 all-out. Amir Elahi (4-134) claimed a four-wicket-haul for Pakistan and was valiantly supported by two-wickets each from Khan Mohammed (2-52), Fazal Mahmood (2-92), and Kardar (2-53).
Pakistan, in reply to India’s 372 was rocked by Vinoo Mankad’s 8-52, and apart from Hanif Mohammed’s 51, no other batsmen could forge a challenge to India’s bowling and were eventually bowled out for 150. India enforced the follow-on on Pakistan and on the back of the duo of Mankad (5-79) and Ghulam Ahmed (4-35) bowled the Men in Green for 152, to set up a memorable win by an innings & 70 runs for the hosts.