It was Shamar Joseph’s dream debut in Test cricket, and little did he know that his extraordinary performance would become the talking point of the opening day at the historic Adelaide Oval. The West Indies, however, found themselves in a precarious position against hosts Australia.
Sent into bat, the Caribbean men struggled to put up a decent total, managing only 188 runs. The top order collapsed, with the team reeling at 133-9, courtesy of the relentless pace duo of Australia’s captain Pat Cummins, who took 4-41 and Josh Hazlewood’s 4-44. The lone resistance came from Kirk McKenzie, playing in only his second Test, who scored a gritty half-century amid the crumbling wickets.
It was then that Shamar Joseph, the West Indies’ No.11, strode to the crease with determination. The Guyanese player showcased unexpected resilience, smashing 36 runs and contributing significantly to a 10th-wicket partnership of 55 runs alongside fellow bowler Kemar Roach, who remained unbeaten on 17. This unexpected lower-order resistance helped the West Indies reach a somewhat more respectable total.
Buoyed by his batting heroics the debutant carried his positive momentum into the bowling attack. In a stunning turn of events, he dismissed the dangerous Steve Smith, who had been promoted to open the innings following David Warner’s retirement. Smith, who had been in sublime touch, fell to Joseph’s clever bowling for just 12.
Joseph’s dream debut continued as he followed up with the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne, who made 10, further denting Australia’s innings. He finished the day with figures of 2-18 from his six overs as the hosts ended the day at 59-2, with Usman Khawaja (30) and Cameron Green (6) at the crease.
Notably, Joseph’s dream debut wasn’t just about his all-around performance. He etched his name in history by becoming the 23rd player in Test history, and the second from the West Indies, to take a wicket with his very first ball in Test cricket. And it wasn’t just any wicket.
“Getting Steve Smith, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” Joseph exclaimed after the day’s play. “I’ll actually take a picture and post it up in my house.” He had already predicted to his teammates that he would get a wicket with his first ball, and when it happened, he credited his positive mindset for the success.
“I didn’t know it was Steve Smith,” Joseph admitted. “That went well for me. You’re coming up against the best team in Test cricket. So I just came with a positive mindset and did what I do best.”
The West Indies could have been in an even stronger position had Joshua da Silva, who managed only six runs in the West Indies innings, held onto a catch after Alzarri Joseph found Khawaja’s edge when the Australian opener was on three, during the second over of the hosts’ innings.