New Zealand’s Devon Conway became just the seventh man in Test cricket’s 144-year history to make a double century on debut with a score of exactly 200 against England at Lord’s on Thursday. A total of eight cricketers have achieved it, with Australia’s Michelle Goszko (2001) the only woman to do so.
The South Africa-born opener’s marathon effort of more than nine-and-a-half hours was the cornerstone of New Zealand’s first-innings total of 378.
Conway was in sight of becoming the first player to bat throughout their very first Test-match innings.
But with only last man Neil Wagner for company, he was run out after lunch on the second day of this two-match series, having faced 347 balls, including 22 fours.
But he had still joined an exclusive club, with Mathew Sinclair the only other New Zealand batsman to have made a double century on his Test bow.
Left-hander Conway had already broken the record for the highest innings by a batsman making their career Test debut at Lord’s when, on Wednesday, he surpassed the 131 made by India’s Souray Ganguly in 1996.
Conway’s innings, which ensured a place on the famed dressing room honours board at the ‘home of cricket’, was also the second highest by a New Zealand batsman in a Test at Lord’s behind Martin Donnelly’s 206 in 1949.
Of the eight Test 200s on debut in the history of cricket, two stand out: Tip Foster’s 287 in 1903 (the first by a man on debut) and Michelle Goszko’s 204 in 2001 (the first and only by a woman on debut) were both at the time record for the highest Test scores respectively.
- Double century on Test debut (men + women) in the history of Test cricket: 8 (7 and 1)
- Double century on Test debut in 2021 so far: 2
Double centuries on Test debut
|RE Foster (ENG)||287||-||37||0||-||2||v Australia||Sydney||11 Dec 1903|
|LG Rowe (WI)||214||-||19||1||-||1||v New Zealand||Kingston||16 Feb 1972|
|DSBP Kuruppu (SL)||201*||548||24||0||36.67||1||v New Zealand||Colombo (CCC)||16 Apr 1987|
|MS Sinclair (NZ)||214||447||22||0||47.87||1||v West Indies||Wellington||26 Dec 1999|
|MAJ Goszko (AUS-W)||204||345||24||0||59.13||2||v ENG Women||Shenley||24 Jun 2001|
|JA Rudolph (SA)||222*||383||29||2||57.96||2||v Bangladesh||Chattogram||24 Apr 2003|
|KR Mayers (WI)||210*||310||20||7||67.74||4||v Bangladesh||Chattogram||3 Feb 2021|
|DP Conway (NZ)||200||347||22||1||57.63||1||v England||Lord's||2 Jun 2021|
Here’s a closer look at the first seven double centuries scored on Test debut:
England toured Australia for a five-Test series in 1903-’04 and the first match of the series in Sydney saw a 24-year-old Tip Foster make his debut for the visitors. The right-hander, who played just eight Tests in his career and died tragically at the age of 36, etched his name in cricketing history with a splendid effort in his first Test. Coming in to bat at No 5 after Australia posted a total of 285, Foster scored to score two more runs than the entire home team put together. His record knock of 287, which remains the highest score ever by a batter on Test debut, came off 419 balls and included 37 fours. England won that match by five wickets, and the series 3-2. Foster remains the only Englishman to captain his country at both cricket and football.
In 1972, New Zealand toured West Indies to play five Test matches, with the series having a remarkable 0-0 scoreline at the end. But the very first innings of the series saw Lawrence Rowe, who was 23 at the time, create history by becoming just the second batter to score a double century on debut. The hosts got a solid start as opener Roy Fredericks went on to score 163, but it was Rowe, batting at No 3, who stole the show with a magnificent innings of 214 runs. His knock came off 427 balls and included 19 fours and a six. Rowe played 30 Tests in his career, getting 2047 runs at an average of 43.55 with seven centuries and as many fifties.
New Zealand toured Sri Lanka in 1987 to play three Tests, but the second and third games of the series were cancelled without a ball being bowled. In the first Test, though, a 25 year old Brendon Kuruppu made his debut for Sri Lanka as a wicketkeeper and opening batsman, And the right-hander went on to make headlines with a sensational, unbeaten 201 as the hosts batted first against a bowling attack led by the great Richard Hadlee. Kuruppu faced a staggering 548 balls in his innings and hit 24 fours, it remains the slowest double-century in first-class cricket history. He, however, ended up playing just four Tests, managing a total of 119 runs in his other six Test innings.
New Zealand won the first match of the two-Test series against West Indies in 1999 by nine wickets. For the next game in Wellington, they decided to hand a debut cap to middle-order batsman Mathew Sinclair, who was 24 at the time. And their decision paid off big-time as the right-hander ended up playing a historic knock. New Zealand batted first and Sinclair came in at No 3 to score 214 runs off 447 balls with 22 fours. His effort helped his team bag the series with an innings victory. Sinclair played 33 Tests in his career, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 32.05 with three hundreds and four half-centuries.
The Australian women’s cricket team toured England in 2001 to play three tour games, two Tests and three ODIs. In the first Test of that tour, Australia’s Michelle Goszko played her debut game in the longest format and went on to etch her name in the history books forever. The visitors won that game by an innings and 140 runs after England batted first and managed just 103. Goszko batted at No 4 for Australia and registered 204 off 345, with 24 fours, to become the first and only woman to score a double century on Test debut. The right-hander’s score was exactly the same as the total England managed in both the innings combined. Australia bagged the second Test too, by nine wickets, but the series will be remembered for the then 23-year-old’s phenomenal effort in Shenley. Goszko played four Tests in her career but could manage just a total of 13 runs in her other four innings.
South Africa’s first Test of the two-match series in Bangladesh in 2003 remains memorable for more than one reason. That match saw the Proteas win by an innings and 60 runs on the back of two splendid batting performances. Jacques Rudolph, playing his very first Test at the age of 21, scored a brilliant 222* off 383 with 29 fours and two sixes. But that wasn’t all as the left-hander shared a sensational, unbeaten partnership of 429 runs for the third wicket with Boeta Dippenaar (177* off 369). This remains the 10th highest partnership for any wicket in Test cricket. Rudolph played 48 Tests in his career, scoring 2622 runs at an average of 35.43 with six hundreds and 11 half-centuries.
There was a gap of 68 years between the first and second double century score by a debutant in Test cricket. After that, the longest gap came between the sixth and seventh such knock. About 18 years after Rudolph’s epic knock, West Indies batsman Kyle Mayers achieved the same feat in an unforgettable victory for his team over Bangladesh in Chattogram. West Indies toured Bangladesh in 2021 and were reeling from a 3-0 ODI series defeat. But they bounced back strongly with a thrilling three-wicket win in the first Test (they even went on to win the two-match series 2-0) thanks to a sensational effort from Mayers. Aged 28, the left-hander walked out to bat at No 5 with his team at 59/3 chasing a target of 394 runs. From there on, he played a knock for the ages to finish with an unbeaten 210 off 310, with 20 fours and seven sixes, and power his team to victory. Mayers farmed the strike masterfully and launched an unforgettable assault on the Bangladeshi bowlers. This is the only knock in this list that came in the fourth innings of a Test.