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Stats: Hardus Viljoen takes wicket with first ball of Test career, joins elite list

Players to have taken a wicket with their first ball in international cricket

Hardus Viljoen exults on taking the wicket of Alastair Cook with his first ball

26-year-old Hardus Viljoen has been given his Test debut in the ongoing match between South Africa and England at Johannesburg, and he struck gold with the very first delivery he bowled. He was introduced into the attack in the 11th over, and he got the wicket of Alastair Cook with his very first ball, caught by wicket keeper Dane Vilas.

Viljoen is not the first cricketer to take a wicket with his first ball in international cricket, but this is a very exclusive list, and Viljoen is the 20th bowler with this feat in Test cricket. 17 bowlers have done this feat in ODI cricket.

Viljoen was picked in the team ahead of Kyle Abbott for the 3rd Test, and what made the occasion even more special for the debutant was that he was bowling at his home stadium, The Wanderers.

However, bowlers who have taken a wicket with their first ball have often not enjoyed a very long international career, and Viljoen has to ensure he does not fall victim to this ‘curse’ as well. Of the 20 bowlers, only Maurice Tate, Intikhab Alam, Nathan Lyon and Shaminda Eranga have played in more than ten Tests.

Fidel Edwards and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the only bowlers to have taken a wicket with their first delivery in ODIs to have enjoyed relatively long careers.

Players of this exclusive list – 

In Test cricket
PlayerBatsmanTeamOppositionVenueYear
Tom HoranWalter ReadAustraliaEnglandSCG1882-83
Arthur ConinghamArchie MacLarenAustraliaEnglandMCG1894-95
Bill BradleyFrank LaverEnglandAustraliaOld Trafford1899
Ted ArnoldVictor TrumperEnglandAustraliaSCG1903-04
Bert VoglerErnie HayesSouth AfricaEnglandOld Wanderers1905-06
Jack CrawfordBert VoglerEnglandSouth AfricaOld Wanderers1905-06
George MacaulayGeorge HearneEnglandSouth AfricaNewlands1922-23
Maurice TateFred SusskindEnglandSouth AfricaEdgbaston1924
Matt HendersonEddie DawsonNew ZealandEnglandLancaster Park1929-30
Dennis SmithEddie PaynterNew ZealandEnglandLancaster Park1932-33
Tyrell JohnsonWalter KeetonWest IndiesEnglandThe Oval1939
Dick HoworthDennis DyerEnglandSouth AfricaThe Oval1947
Intikhab AlamColin McDonaldPakistanAustraliaKarachi1959-60
Richard IllingworthPhil SimmonsEnglandWest IndiesTrent Bridge1991
Nilesh KulkarniMarvan AtapattuIndiaSri LankaPremadasa1997
Chamila GamageMohammad AshrafulSri LankaBangladeshPremadasa2002
Nathan LyonKumar SangakkaraAustraliaSri LankaGalle2011
Shaminda ErangaShane WatsonSri LankaAustraliaSSC2011
Dane PiedtMark VermeulenSouth AfricaZimbabweHarare2014
Hardus ViljoenAlastair CookSouth AfricaEnglandNew Wanderers2015-16
In ODI cricket
PlayerMatchVenueYear
GG ArnoldEng v AusManchester1972
CH LloydWI v EngOval1973
S MahboobPak v IndLahore1982/83
SA ThomsonNZ v IndDunedin1989/90
Inzamam-ul-HaqPak v WIFaisalabad1991/92
E MatambanadzoZim v PakPeshawar1996/97
S RameshInd vs WISingapore1999/00
WW HindsWI v IndSingapore1999/00
JS AbabuKen v ZimNairobi1999/00
M van JaarsveldSA v BanKimberley2002/03
M ZondekiSA v SLBloemfontein2002/03
K LokuharachchiSL v KenSharjah2002/03
R ClarkeEng v PakManchester2003
F EdwardsWI v ZimHarare2003/04
M MirandoSL v WISt Lucia2007/08
PA DesaiCan v WIJamaica2009/10
B KumarInd v PakChennai2012/13
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