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Who was the first Test centurion in Indian cricket?

Lala Amarnath is the first Test centurion in Indian cricket history. The former Indian cricket team captain scored a hundred on his debut match against England in December 1993.

A total of 87 players have had the distinct honour of scoring a century for India in Test cricket so far. Several of those players including legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Virat Kohli, and Sunil Gavaskar have gone on to define their respective generations in the sport and leave their mark forever.

Out of those 87 players who share 525 centuries between them, 16 players have had the fortune to score a century in their first ever Test match. Scoring a century on Test debut is regarded as a huge achievement for any cricketer and Indian superstar Shreyas Iyer was the most recent person to add his name to that list when he achieved that incredible feat against New Zealand in 2021.

But do you know which famous player holds the record of scoring the very first century in the history of Indian cricket? That monumental record-setting cricketer also holds the record of scoring a Test century in the first professional match of his career as well.

Lala Amarnath – First Test centurion in Indian cricket history

Indian legend Lala Amarnath was the first player to register a Test century for India in the history of cricket. Amarnath scored a century in his very first match against England in December, 1933.

In fact, it was on 17th December 1933 that Lala Amarnath became the first Test centurion in Indian cricket. Although India went on to lose the match against their then-colonial masters, Amarnath’s magnificent achievement was celebrated with plenty of excitement, vigour and joy.

On his Test debut, Amarnath made 118 runs against England even though the latter went on to win by nine wickets.

Centurion on first Test match held on Indian soil

The Test match against England in December 1933 was also historic because it was the very first match to be held on Indian soil. After playing out India’s debut Test match at Lord’s in London in 1932, the England cricket team had agreed to visit India and they organised a match in December the following year.

The Gymkhana Ground in Bombay was selected as the venue because Bombay had been the hub of cricket in India back then and the quadrangular tournaments hosted there were also very popular. Temporary stands were put up to host people and 50,000 spectators visited the ground to watch the Indian team in action on their turf for the first time.

CK Nayudu, India’s very first cricket captain, had won the toss and he elected to bat first. Not a single batsman from India could hold his ground and build a strong partnership and they were bundled out for just 219 in their first innings.

In England’s first innings, India had managed to restrict the visitors to a score of 164/4. However, despite the chance to get back in the game, the hosts squandered it, as Cyril Walter’s 78, Douglas Jardine’s 60 and Bryan Valentine’s 136 helped England to stretch their lead to 219. Indian pacer Mohammad Nissar managed to take a five-wicket-haul.

The second innings did not begin well for Team India as they had been reduced to just 21/2. It was at this point in the contest that Lala Amarnath, batting at the number three slot, found himself in company with captain Nayudu. The duo took the counter-charge to England’s bowlers and added a wonderful partnership of 186 runs for the third wicket as India started mounting resistance.

Even though Nayudu departed after scoring 67, Amarnath stayed and held his ground. He continued to plunder runs and boundaries and eventually reached the three-figure-mark to become India’s first Test centurion.

Various accounts and reports from that era mention that the crowd erupted in Bombay with joy and happiness at the sight of Amarnath reaching his century. His outstanding achievement saw him become a national hero and he was later showered by gifts and honours and the century was widely celebrated.

However, Amarnath was eventually dismissed for 118 runs. His wicket led to a complete collapse for the hosts and they then went on to lose the match by nine wickets.

Lala Amarnath: Career by numbers

Lala Amarnath had a glorious and historic Test career for Team India where he played 24 matches and scored 878 runs at an average of 24.78. He scored a century and also made another four half-centuries in his career that lasted over two decades. Amarnath was also a more than useful bowler who took 45 wickets, with best bowling figures of 5/96.

His first-class record in cricket is also outstanding for his time, as he had amassed 10,426 runs at an average of 41.37 in 186 matches, across 286 innings. Amarnath had scored 31 centuries and 39 half-centuries with the highest individual score of 262.

The honour of becoming the first ever captain in cricket for independent India is also held by Amarnath who had led the side after independence and between 1947 and 1952. He captained India in 15 Tests, winning two, losing six and drawing seven. It was under Amarnath’s leadership that India went on to win its first-ever Test series against Pakistan by a 2-1 margin.

The very first time that the legendary Australian batter Don Bradman was dismissed hit wicket was also on Amarnath’s bowling. It occurred during the Test match between India and Australia in November 1947, when he dismissed Bradman for 185 runs.

Amarnath’s two sons Mohinder and Surinder also represented India in the sport. Mohinder Amarnath was a part of the victorious 1983 side that won the World Cup for India for the first time.

FAQs

Who was the first to score a century for India in T20Is?

Suresh Raina holds the record for scoring the first century for India in T20 Internationals. He achieved this feat against South Africa on May 2, 2010.

Who was the very first Test captain for India?

CK Nayudu was the very first Test captain in the history of Indian cricket.

When did India play its first Test match and against which country?

India played its first Test match against England in Lord’s in 1932. The match was won by England.

Who scored the very first century in Test cricket history?

Charles Bannerman holds the record of scoring the first century in Test cricket history in the first Test match played between Australia and England in March 1877.

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