In the 143-year old existence of Test cricket, only 12 nations have gained the privilege of playing cricket’s longest format. Inventors of the game, England, initiated the red-ball tradition in 1877 while playing against Australia in Melbourne. The match was retrospectively awarded Test status and it became known as the first Test match ever played.
Soon other British colonies picked up the game and joined the caravan one by one in the years to come. 2018 was the seminal year of Test cricket where two countries were added to the club. After the difficult initiation, Ireland and Afghanistan confronted each other in a Test match at Dehradun. On 18th March 2019, Afghanistan celebrated their maiden win in the format as they defeated Ireland by seven wickets.
Here is a look back on how many matches each team needed for their inaugural Test triumph.
The first nation to win a Test match, Australia won the very first match that they played. Riding on Charles Bannerman’s century and success of a lethal bowling unit, the Aussies celebrated a 45-run win over the touring English side at Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1877.
After the setback in the opening Test, the masters fought back valiantly in the second Test and triumphed on the same venue. England won the second Test of the tour by four wickets and equalled the two-match series 1-1.
After the partition of India in 1947, it took five years for the new-born country of Pakistan to enter the list of Test-playing nations. They were walloped by Vinoo Mankad’s left-arm spin in their first match. In Lucknow, Pakistan mounted a brilliant comeback in the following game and defeated India by an inning and 43 runs. Fazal Mahmood was the star of the match with 12 wickets in the game.
Afghanistan faced a baptism by fire as they went down to India in an innings-defeat in the opening Test. However, they bounced back against the opponent who matched their stature. Afghans overcame Ireland in only their second Test match to celebrate the maiden victory.
The rulers of cricket in the ‘70s and ‘80s, West Indies made their Test debut in 1928. The beginning was disastrous as they lost three consecutive matches by an innings against England. West Indies eventually picked up their first win in the sixth Test match. They defeated England by 289 runs at Georgetown in 1930.
The second African nation to play Test cricket, Zimbabwe played their debut match against India at Harare in 1992. Even after six draws and four losses, the win remained a far-off dream.
Zimbabwe earned their maiden win against Pakistan in 1995 at Harare. Batting first, Flower brothers scored mega-centuries (Grant – 201 and Andy – 156). Guy Whittall chipped in with 113. Zimbabwean bowlers then bowled out Pakistan twice to get an inning win in their 11th Test.
South Africa was the third nation to play Test cricket after Australia and England. Their first eight matches were against England and they ended up losing them all. They next faced Australia in a three-match series but lost it 0-2. South Africa returned to Johannesburg in 1906 to confront England once again.
Another loss was looming large when South Africa needed 284 runs to win in the fourth inning. Ashley Nourse’s 93 not out helped the nation secure their maiden Test win in the 12th match.
The tiny Asian island received Test status in 1982 and became the eighth nation to play the longest format. Even after facing five different opponents in the first 19 Test matches, Sri Lanka remained winless in Test cricket. In 1986, they conquered Pakistan by eight wickets in Colombo to snatch their maiden triumph in the 20th game.
After a glittering debut at Lord’s in 1932, Indian side had a hard time in Test cricket. They were consistently defeated by England, Australia and West Indies. It took the Asian giant 20 years and 25 matches to earn their maiden win. The triumph came against England in Madras in 1952 where Vinoo Mankad starred with a 12-wicket haul.
Like Pakistan and Zimbabwe, Bangladesh also played their inaugural Test match versus India. The nine-wicket loss started a string of losses for the newest Asian Test nation. At one point, their Test cricket capabilities were under question. After playing 34 Tests, Bangladesh had one draw and 33 losses. In 2005, they defeated Zimbabwe by 226 runs in Chittagong to register their first Test win.
The island nation experienced the greatest struggle to earn their maiden victory. Debuting in 1930 against England in Christchurch, New Zealand secured plenty of draws but the victory section remained empty. After 44 winless matches, the Kiwis tasted their first success against West Indies. New Zealand won by 190 runs in Auckland in 1956 where they skittled the visitors for 77 in the fourth innings.