Joseph becomes 23rd men’s player to claim wicket on opening delivery in Tests with Smith’s dismissal

Adelaide, Jan 17 – Debutant West Indies fast-bowler Shamar Joseph has become the 23rd player to take a wicket on the opening delivery in men’s Test cricket with the scalp of newly-promoted Australia opener Steve Smith on day one of first Test at the Adelaide Oval.

In the ninth over of Australia’s innings, Joseph bowled a good length delivery just outside off-stump, drawing Smith into playing at it and the outside edge flew to fellow debutant Justin Greaves, who took a low and sharp catch at third slip.

The dismissal sent Joseph, Greaves, and the West Indies team into a frenzy as Smith fell for 12 in his first innings as Test opener after David Warner’s retirement. Joseph had previously hit 36 in a last-wicket stand of 55 with Kemar Roach to push the West Indies to 188 in their first innings.

Dismissing Smith on his very first ball in Test cricket made Joseph the 23rd bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in men’s Tests, and just the second from the West Indies to do so after Tyrell Johnson against England at The Oval in 1939.

Australia’s veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon, playing this Test match at Adelaide, himself struck with his first delivery on debut against Sri Lanka in 2011. Six overs later, Joseph had another big breakthrough when his bouncer surprised top-order batter Marnus Labuschagne and he ended up hooking the ball to fine leg.

“I didn’t miss my run-up, it was just nervousness. I just wanted to get the first ball right, top of off stump, and getting the Smith wicket is just amazing for me. I had a few conversations with the boys in the dressing room and told them I’d get a wicket first ball, but I didn’t know it was Steve Smith.”

“I think that area is a weakness for him … he walks across a lot and tries to take you off your line, so I stuck to the basics, hit top of off with a little movement away, and got the edge. Getting Steve Smith is the biggest dream.”

“I don’t think I have any better wicket. He is one of my favourite players, I really love Steve Smith the way he plays and goes about his cricket. Getting him, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I’d love to get a picture and stick it in my house,” said Joseph to reporters after stumps on day one.

Joseph had left a good impression during West Indies A’s tour of South Africa, where he claimed 12 wickets. He hails from the remote village of Baracara in Guyana, a place which did not have telephone or internet connections until 2018.

Reaching Baracara takes time – a 225km boat trip up the Canje River in Berbice that can take up to two days due to thick vegetation in the waterways. He made his first-class debut in the regional four-day competition only last year, before earning a CPL contract after being initially drafted in as a net bowler.

Joseph had quit his job in a security firm two years and on Wednesday, he received his maiden Test cap from legendary fast-bowler Ian Bishop, becoming the 337th men’s cricketer to represent the West Indies in men’s Test cricket.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, having a kid at home to look after. It wasn’t easy, but my fiancé said, ‘If this is what you want to do, go and do it, do what you love, I’m here to support.’ That decision wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard at the same time, because I want to do what I love.”

What was amazing for Joseph on his first day as a Test cricket was also hitting Josh Hazlewood for six. “That was amazing for me. He is the most consistent bowler I have faced in my career, so hitting him for six motivated me a lot.”


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