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The first five-wicket haul for each Test nation

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First_five_wicket_haul_Test_CricketThough Ireland lost their one-off Test against England at Lord’s by 143 runs, they had the satisfaction of bowling the hosts out for 85 before lunch on first day. The wrecker-in-chief was seamer Tim Murtagh, who returned figures of 5/13 to become the first man to take a five-wicket haul for Ireland in Test cricket. On that note, here is a look back at the first instance of a Test five-wicket haul for every nation, with the respective team’s Test number shown in brackets.

Billy Midwinter (Australia – Test # 1), 1876-77

Born in Gloucestershire, Midwinter immigrated to Australia when he was nine, and went on to take Test cricket’s first five-wicket haul in the inaugural Test at Melbourne. After Charles Bannerman’s 165 had carried Australia to 245, Midwinter snared 5/78 in 54 four-ball overs to help dismiss England for 196. With England at 79/1, Midwinter had Henry Charlwood caught behind, and then proceeded to run through the middle order to play his part in Australia’s 45-run win.

Alfred Shaw (England – Test # 2), 1876-77

Midwinter was not the only bowler to record a fifer in the inaugural Test. The second innings of the match saw medium pacer Alfred Shaw, who had earlier bowled the first ball in Test history, become the first bowler to take a Test five-wicket haul for England with a return of 5/38 that restricted Australia to 104. However, it was not enough to deny Australia victory, as England tumbled to 108 in their chase of 164, with Tom Kendall (7/55) joining the five-wicket haul club.

Albert Rose-Innes (South Africa – Test # 1), 1889-90

This tour match at Port Elizabeth was retrospectively marked as South Africa’s Test debut – it thus also became the inaugural first-class match to be played in South Africa. England bowled South Africa out for 84, after which Rose-Innes, a slow left-arm orthodox bowler playing in the city of his birth, took 5/43 to limit the visitors’ first-innings lead to 64. The South African batting came a cropper again though, and England, having been set a target of 66, won by eight wickets.

Herman Griffith (West Indies – Test # 3), 1928

As was the case in the first two Tests of their maiden Test series, the West Indies suffered an innings defeat in the third and final Test, played at The Oval. A silver lining for the West Indians was the performance of fast bowler Herman Griffith, who impressed with 6/103 after his team was bowled out for 238. Griffith sparked a collapse from 305/2 to 333/7 in a remarkable spell of five for 21, but England eventually racked up 438 – enough for a win by an innings and 71 runs.

Mohammad Nissar (India – Test # 1), 1932

India began their first ever Test promisingly, as paceman Mohammad Nissar bowled both the openers – the Yorkshire duo of Herbert Sutcliffe and Percy Holmes – with only 11 on the board at Lord’s. Nissar added three more scalps to finish with 5/93, before England secured a lead of 70 by bowling India out for 189. India were ultimately set a target of 336, and lost by 158 runs. Nissar also took a fifer (5/90) in India’s first home Test, against England at Bombay in 1933-34.

Jack Cowie (New Zealand – Test # 13), 1937

New Zealand had to wait until their 13th Test before witnessing a fifer from one of their bowlers, and for good measure, it led to a ten-wicket match haul. England won this second Test of a three-match series at Old Trafford, but not before Cowie had his moment of glory. Having taken 4/73 in England’s first innings of 358/9, the pace bowler took 6/67 in the second dig to condemn the total to 187. His effort was in vain, as New Zealand could muster only 134 in their chase of 265.

Fazal Mahmood (Pakistan – Test # 2), 1952-53

One of the most impactful fast bowlers the game has seen, Fazal Mahmood played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s first Test victory in only their second attempt, against India at Lucknow. India were all out for just 106 on the opening day after electing to bat, with Fazal exploiting a jute-matting surface to take 5/52. With Pakistan holding a sizeable lead of 225, he did even better in the second innings, collecting his Test-best of 7/42 to seal his team’s win by an innings and 43 runs.

Somachandra de Silva (Sri Lanka – Test # 3), 1981-82

Sri Lanka bounced back from a 204-run defeat at Karachi to dictate terms in a draw at Faisalabad. The islanders rode on Sidath Wettimuny’s 157 to post 454, after which leg-spinner Somachandra de Silva, three months short of his 40th birthday, took 4/103 as Pakistan conceded a lead of 184. De Silva went a step further in the second innings with a return of 5/59, which sent Pakistan, who were left to chase 339, sinking from the safety of 132/2 towards a worrying 174/7.

John Traicos (Zimbabwe – Test # 1), 1992-93

Born in Egypt, off-spinner Traicos, of Greek descent, played three Tests for South Africa in 1969-70. He returned to the Test scene 23 years later at the age of 45, and starred for Zimbabwe in their inaugural Test against India at Harare. After captain Dave Houghton’s 121* had propelled Zimbabwe to 456, Traicos dismantled the Indian middle order en route to figures of 5/86. Tottering at 101/5 at one stage, India recovered to reach 307, thus ensuring a draw.

Naimur Rahman (Bangladesh – Test # 1), 2000-01

Like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh too played their first Test at home against India. The Tigers showed great grit in putting up a total of 400 at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Stadium, with Aminul Islam scoring 145. In reply, captain Naimur Rahman’s off-spin reduced India to 236/6, thus giving his team a real chance. Naimur finished with 6/132, but India fought back to take a narrow lead of 29. Bangladesh were bowled out for only 91 in the second innings, and duly lost by nine wickets.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan – Test # 2), 2018-19

Afghanistan’s maiden Test win, against Ireland at Dehradun, was built around a solid display with both bat and ball. Ireland were on the back foot from the first day itself, when they crashed to 69/8 before ending at 172. Afghanistan took a lead of 142, and although Ireland did better in the second innings, Rashid Khan took wickets at key junctures to keep them to 288. The 20-year-old leg-spinner finished with 5/82, which contributed towards Afghanistan’s five-wicket victory.

Tim Murtagh (Ireland – Test # 3), 2019

A seasoned player for Middlesex since 2007, Murtagh ran amok at his county’s home ground of Lord’s with stunning figures of 5/13 from nine overs, which bundled England out for 85. His spell included a five-ball span during which he dismissed three batsmen for ducks to reduce the score to 43/7. However, despite Ireland taking a lead of 122, England’s experience turned the tide. Chasing 182 for a famous win, Ireland were skittled for 38, the lowest Test total in 64 years.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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