It’s the ultimate nightmare: you finally make your Test debut… and then you make a pair – a duck in both innings.
Not even a snick through the slips for a single, or a mistimed drive that dribbles to vacant midwicket. Two ducks. Come on Karma, what have I done to deserve this!?
Called a pair as two scores of zero resemble a ‘pair of spectacles’, the list of Test debutants who have succumbed to the dreaded pair is long and illustrious, with 44 players recording a debut pair over the 141 years that Tests have been played. That represents a debut pair every three-and-a-bit years, although on nine occasions there have been two occurrences in a single year. Some of the more famous victims include Graham Gooch, Ken Rutherford, Marvan Atapattu, Saeed Anwar, Allan Donald and Dean Elgar.
A pair of pairs in 2018
This year Aussie medium-pacer Chadd Sayers suffered a pair on debut in the Joburg Test against South Africa in March, but more recently Irishman Andy Balbirnie suffered a pair in his Test debut in the current Test against Pakistan. Balbirnie’s pair is somewhat more illustrious, as the Irish No 3’s pair was also in his country’s Test debut! Balbirnie was, frustratingly, trapped lbw in both innings by Mohammad Abbas.
Two pairs of Kiwis
The Irish team had three batsmen on a pair in the second innings, but only Balbirnie successfully converted his duck into a pair. Nice one. Hey, at least it’s a record! Most of us will never have any records to speak of in our lives. New Zealand have, however, had two players who converted their Test debut ducks into a pair in their country’s first ever Test match, which was against England in Christchurch in 1930. Step forward, FT Badcock and KC James, and take a bow.
Kiwis can’t help themselves
Not content to leave it at that, the Kiwis are also the only team to twice have two players scoring a Test debut pair in the same match! The first time was in 1930 in their first Test, but 16 years later – against their mortal enemies, Australia, in Wellington – LA Butterfield and CG Rowe matched the non-scoring record of their countrymen from 1930.
Same day, different ducks
Rare as a pair is, how’s this for a coincidence: Marvan Atapattu made his Test debut for Sri Lanka against India on 23 November 1990… the same day Saeed Anwar won his first Test cap (Pakistan against the West Indies). Two future great Test batsmen… four innings… and not a single run between them! Anwar went on to score 4,052 Test runs in a highly respectable career, while Atapattu’s career lasted a lot longer as he went on to score 5,502 Test runs.
Best run of no runs
The first pair on Test debut was by the youngest member of the famous Grace cricket family. Fred Grace (brother of the immortal WG) went 0-0 for England against Australia at The Oval in 1880.
However, the next seven instances of batsmen making a pair on Test debut all belonged to South Africa (from 1892 until 1914), who were then somewhat the whipping boys of big brothers Australia and England. The magnificent seven? CS Wimble, JT Willoughby, JJ Kotze, PS Twentyman-Jones, TA Ward, PT Lewis and CD Dixon.
For the record: stats to go
For your table talk, here’s the full list of players who have scored a pair of ducks on their Test debut:
|GF Grace||England||v Australia||The Oval||6 Sep 1880||Test # 4|
|CS Wimble||South Africa||v England||Cape Town||19 Mar 1892||Test # 37|
|JT Willoughby||South Africa||v England||Port Elizabeth||13 Feb 1896||Test # 47|
|JJ Kotze||South Africa||v Australia||Johannesburg||18 Oct 1902||Test # 76|
|PS Twentyman-Jones||South Africa||v Australia||Cape Town||8 Nov 1902||Test # 77|
|TA Ward||South Africa||v Australia||Manchester||27 May 1912||Test # 121|
|PT Lewis||South Africa||v England||Durban||13 Dec 1913||Test # 130|
|CD Dixon||South Africa||v England||Johannesburg||1 Jan 1914||Test # 132|
|FT Badcock||New Zealand||v England||Christchurch||10 Jan 1930||Test # 186|
|KC James||New Zealand||v England||Christchurch||10 Jan 1930||Test # 186|
|CIJ Smith||England||v West Indies||Bridgetown||8 Jan 1935||Test # 238|
|LA Butterfield||New Zealand||v Australia||Wellington||29 Mar 1946||Test # 275|
|CG Rowe||New Zealand||v Australia||Wellington||29 Mar 1946||Test # 275|
|CN McCarthy||South Africa||v England||Durban||16 Dec 1948||Test # 306|
|AL Valentine||West Indies||v England||Manchester||8 Jun 1950||Test # 323|
|GS Ramchand||India||v England||Leeds||5 Jun 1952||Test # 351|
|GA Gooch||England||v Australia||Birmingham||10 Jul 1975||Test # 760|
|BP Bracewell||New Zealand||v England||The Oval||27 Jul 1978||Test # 828|
|MR Whitney||Australia||v England||Manchester||13 Aug 1981||Test # 907|
|Maninder Singh||India||v Pakistan||Karachi||23 Dec 1982||Test # 942|
|KR Rutherford||New Zealand||v West Indies||Port of Spain||29 Mar 1985||Test # 1013|
|CM Kuggeleijn||New Zealand||v India||Bengaluru||12 Nov 1988||Test # 1107|
|RGM Patel||India||v New Zealand||Mumbai||24 Nov 1988||Test # 1109|
|MS Atapattu||Sri Lanka||v India||Chandigarh||23 Nov 1990||Test # 1156|
|Saeed Anwar||Pakistan||v West Indies||Faisalabad||23 Nov 1990||Test # 1157|
|AA Donald||South Africa||v West Indies||Bridgetown||18 Apr 1992||Test # 1188|
|SG Peall||Zimbabwe||v Pakistan||Karachi||1 Dec 1993||Test # 1237|
|PE McIntyre||Australia||v England||Adelaide||26 Jan 1995||Test # 1284|
|DP Viljoen||Zimbabwe||v Pakistan||Bulawayo||14 Mar 1998||Test # 1408|
|GM Hamilton||England||v South Africa||Johannesburg||25 Nov 1999||Test # 1471|
|JEC Franklin||New Zealand||v Pakistan||Auckland||8 Mar 2001||Test # 1533|
|Alamgir Kabir||Bangladesh||v Sri Lanka||Colombo (PSS)||21 Jul 2002||Test # 1609|
|KHRK Fernando||Sri Lanka||v South Africa||Johannesburg||8 Nov 2002||Test # 1624|
|SL Malinga||Sri Lanka||v Australia||Darwin||1 Jul 2004||Test # 1705|
|LPC Silva||Sri Lanka||v New Zealand||Christchurch||7 Dec 2006||Test # 1820|
|CT Tremlett||England||v India||Lord’s||19 Jul 2007||Test # 1840|
|MR Gillespie||New Zealand||v South Africa||Centurion||16 Nov 2007||Test # 1848|
|D Elgar||South Africa||v Australia||Perth||30 Nov 2012||Test # 2064|
|N M’shangwe||Zimbabwe||v Bangladesh||Khulna||3 Nov 2014||Test # 2143|
|R Chandrika||West Indies||v Australia||Kingston||11 Jun 2015||Test # 2166|
|AS Joseph||West Indies||v India||Gros Islet||9 Aug 2016||Test # 2215|
|Kamrul Islam Rabbi||Bangladesh||v England||Chittagong||20 Oct 2016||Test # 2225|
|CJ Sayers||Australia||v South Africa||Johannesburg||30 Mar 2018||Test # 2302|
|A Balbirnie||Ireland||v Pakistan||Dublin (Malahide)||11 May 2018||Test # 2303|
Source: Cricinfo http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283116.html
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