5 debutants in the month of July

England v South Africa - 3rd Investec Test: Day One
Malan received a spectacular yorker from Rabada on his debut outing
rohit sankar

World cricket was blessed to witness quite a few thrilling matches in the month of July with India taking on Sri Lanka and South Africa clashing against the might of England. After the bash of Champions Trophy was followed by a mesmerising Women's World Cup, cricket was back to its traditional form in July with Test cricket taking over.

Sri Lanka chased down a mammoth 388 against Zimbabwe to record the highest run chase in Asia in Test cricket. England drubbed South Africa at Lord's before the visitors blanked them at Trent Bridge to draw level. The see-saw game continued at The Oval with England edging ahead with a whopping win.

Meanwhile, India arrived on Lankan shores with quite a few openers injured but went on to hand a sound thrashing to the islanders who were woeful in every aspect of the game. More games meant more debutants and quite a few of them touched feet on International waters in July this year. Here we take a look at some of them.

#5 Dawid Malan

After a Man of the Match award in his debut T20 against the Proteas, Dawid Malan was picked in the Test squad for the first time. Even then, he wasn't expected to debut with Liam Dawson preferred as a second spinner at Lord's and Trent Bridge. However, a sudden change of plans from the management earned Dawid Malan a Test debut at The Oval in the third Test.

Extra cover: Ben Stokes: The sharpest weapon in England's armoury

An attacking top order batsman for Middlesex, the southpaw is a regular name in T20 leagues across the globe with him playing the PSL finals for Peshawar Zalmi. He is a predominantly off-side player having some eye-pleasing shots up his sleeve. In his debut innings, Malan was bowled for 1 by a corner of a yorker from Kagiso Rabada. He failed to impress in the second innings as well, falling for 10.

#4 Heino Kuhn

England v South Africa - 2nd Investec Test: Day Two
Kuhn is proving to be another one of South Africa's failed experiments as opener

A wicket-keeper batsman, South Africa's Heino Kuhn is 33 and has a bucket-load of runs in First-class cricket to his name. Given the presence of Quinton de Kock, Kuhn had been short of opportunities until his sheer weight of runs earned him a maiden Test cap.

Called up in place of 34-year old Stephen Cook, who had failed to impress the selectors with his flawed technique, Kuhn fared poorly in the three Tests of the series thus far.

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He looked solid and composed at the wicket in most occasions but a tendency to hang back in the crease was exploited by the England seamers to perfection. In the final Test, he managed to come forward and play some sublime cover drives before a straighter one sent him back to the pavilion. He made just 78 runs in six innings at an average of 13.

#3 Toby Roland-Jones

England v South Africa - 3rd Investec Test: Day Five
Roland-Jones revelled on debut at The Oval

Unanimously the debutant of the month, Toby Roland-Jones had been in the fringes of Test selection for the past one year. He had been picked in the Test squad a year back but had to wait for an year to earn a debut cap and when he did, he made it count.

A nippy seamer who generates sharp seam movement, Roland-Jones made use of some dark cloud cover and gentle breeze to celebrate a memorable debut.

He had South Africa four down in no time at The Oval on his debut with all four to his name and grabbed one more to complete a five-wicket haul. He accounted for Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock in the first innings. In the second, he scalped two prised wickets off consecutive balls on the final day to trigger a collapse.

#2 Tom Westley

England v South Africa - 3rd Investec Test: Day Three
Tom Westley finally your a test to England's no.3 debate

England had gone back to Gary Ballance at the start of the South African series but the Yorkshire southpaw once again failed in his third Test comeback, forcing the selectors to search for other options.

In came Tom Westley, a 6ft 2in batsman with a strong leg-side game and sound judgement outside his off-stump. He did not boast of great First-class numbers like Ballance but put his hand up for the no.3 slot for England.

Making his debut at The Oval, Westley was tested outside his off-stump by the Proteas seamers who knew his penchant for the leg-side. He looked assured in defence and showed shrewd judgement outside his off-stump in the first innings which was cut short by Chris Morris. In the second, Westley looked even more confident and compiled a fine half-century to seal his place for the final Test.

#1 Hardik Pandya

Pandya followed up his exceptional Champions Trophy final knock with a half-century on Test debut

A flamboyant, hard-hitting seaming all-rounder, Hardik Pandya had made rapid strides in India's limited-over teams in the past year but a Test debut had eluded him even though he found himself in the squad several times. The Kohli-Shastri tie-up put more onus on aggressive cricketers and Hardik Pandya was handed over a debut at The Galle in India's first Test against Sri Lanka.

Walking in with India in a comfortable position, Pandya smashed a run a ball half-century that included five fours and three sixes. He wasn't given the ball until late in Lanka's innings and bowled 10 overs in the whole Test, claiming a lone wicket. He was, however, effective with the old ball, generating reverse swing that promoted a couple of edges.

Edited by Amit Mishra


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