Rassie van der Dussen scored a half-century on debut as South Africa found some composure on day three of the first Test against England at Centurion.
He became the first player ever to score a half-century on international debut in every format of the game (Tests, ODIs and T20s).
The Proteas’ top order looked somewhat haphazard in the first innings, with not a single batsman managing to score more than 40.
Quinton de Kock, however, knuckled down and showed his teammates how it’s done, grafting his way to 95 as South Africa settled for 284 all out.
Then it was over to the bowlers. Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada put in a masterclass for bowling on the Highveld and skittled England for 181.
The Centurion pitch wasn’t exactly spitting, but South Africa needed a good shift in their second innings to give themselves a good chance of winning. The top order, however, failed dismally again.
But van der Dussen had other plans. He scrapped to a respectable 51 off 67 balls, becoming just the 14th South African since readmission to score a half-century on debut.
Test half-century for South Africa on debut
Aiden Markram was the last South African to do so back in 2017 against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom.
Test century for South Africa on debut
While it might seem like a low number, a half-century on debut isn’t that common in Test cricket.
Since South Africa’s readmission, England and Australia have seen the most half-centuries on debut (20 each) while Pakistan has had more centurions than any other side.
Test centuries and half centuries on debut – all Test team totals*
But if a half-century on debut is rare, then a half-century and century on debut might as well count as hen’s teeth.
Just seven players managed to do this since South Africa’s readmission. Faf du Plessis, the Proteas’ captain, features on that list alongside Azhar Mahmood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Scott Styris, Umar Akmal and Lou Vincent. Vincent was banned from cricket for life in 2014 by the England and Wales Cricket Board for match-fixing. He admitted 18 breaches of the regulations.