A Test cap is the dream of every budding cricketer. If a player achieves a milestone on his Test debut, say a century or a 5-wicket haul, it proves to be the icing on the cake.
There have been 15 Indian cricketers who have scored a century on their Test debuts to date. Lala Amarnath was the first Indian cricketer to do so. He achieved this distinction in India's 2nd innings of the first Test of England's tour to India in 1933.
Sourav Ganguly was the 10th Indian overall and the last one in the 20th century to have achieved this feat. The former Indian skipper scored this century in the 1st innings of the second Test of India's tour to England, played at Lord's in 1996.
On that note, let us take a look at the 5 Indian cricketers who scored a century on their Test debut in the 21st century.
Indian cricketers with a century on Test debut in the 21st century
#1: Virender Sehwag - 105 vs South Africa, 2001
Virender Sehwag was the 11th Indian overall and the first in the 21st century to score a ton on Test debut. He did so in the 1st Test of India's tour to South Africa, played at Bloemfontein, in 2001.
The South African captain Shaun Pollock won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. Sehwag joined Sachin Tendulkar in the middle with India in a spot of bother, the score reading 68 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
The Nawab of Najafgarh, as he is fondly called, was circumspect initially with Tendulkar being the more aggressive of the two batsmen. But once Sehwag settled down, there was a flurry of boundaries from both ends.
The duo put together a partnership of 220 runs before the Mumbaikar was dismissed for an individual score of 155 runs. Sehwag continued the attacking display in the company of Deep Dasgupta, the other debutant in the match.
The two youngsters put on a 63-run partnership for the 6th wicket, before Sehwag was castled by Pollock for an individual score of 105 runs. This knock, studded with 19 hits to the fence, had bailed India out of a precarious position.
But the lower-order batsmen could not put up much of a resistance as India got bowled out for 379 runs in their 1st innings. In response, South Africa posted a mammoth 563 runs in their first innings to take a 184-run lead.
The Indians folded up for 237 runs in the 2nd innings, with Sehwag contributing 31 runs. The Proteas easily chased down the 54-run target, winning the match by 9 wickets.
Although India lost the match, Sehwag had announced himself on the international stage in Test cricket. He went on to become one of the most successful Test openers for India, and his 8586 Test runs came at an average of 49.34. He scored a total of 23 centuries in his Test career, and is the only Indian to have struck two triple centuries in Test cricket.
#2: Suresh Raina - 120 vs Sri Lanka, 2010
Suresh Raina became the 12th Indian overall and the second in the 21st century to score a hundred on Test debut. This happened in the 2nd Test of India's tour to Sri Lanka, played at Colombo, in 2010.
The Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and opted to bat first on a featherbed. The Islanders made the best use of the friendly batting conditions to post a mammoth score of 642/4 declared. The captain himself smashed a double century, along with centuries by Tharanga Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene.
India were still more than 200 runs away from avoiding the follow-on when Raina joined Tendulkar in the middle, with the score reading 241 for the loss of 4 wickets. The pair batted cautiously to weather the Sri Lankan spin attack, which had Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv as the main threats.
The left-right combination did not let the bowlers settle into a rhythm, and rotated the strike with frequent singles, while dispatching the loose deliveries for boundaries. Raina brought up his century with a majestic drive for four between cover and mid-off.
The southpaw was finally dismissed for an individual score of 120 runs, caught by Sangakkara at short midwicket off the bowling of Mendis. But by that time, Raina had stitched together a 256-run partnership with the batting maestro to help India save the follow-on.
Tendulkar went on to score a double century as India managed to score 707 runs in their first innings. MS Dhoni and the lower order also made useful contributions as India overhauled the Sri Lankan score.
Sri Lanka scored 129/3 in their 2nd innings, as the Test match ended in a tame draw. Although India could not force a favourable result, Suresh Raina made a bright start to his Test career.
Unfortunately, Raina could not cement his place in the Indian Test squad although he had a rather successful limited-overs international career. The Uttar Pradesh middle-order batsman managed to score 768 runs in the 18 Tests he represented India in, at a below-par average of 26.48.
Suresh Raina's debut century was also his only ton in a short Test career.
#3: Shikhar Dhawan - 187 vs Australia, 2013
Shikhar Dhawan was the 13th Indian overall and the third in the 21st century to reach the three-figure mark on Test debut. He managed to do so in the 3rd Test of Australia's tour to India, played at Mohali, in 2013.
The Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first. The Kangaroos posted a decent first innings total of 408 runs, with Mitchell Starc as the top-scorer with 99 runs to his name.
Dhawan walked out to open the batting with Murali Vijay. While the Tamil Nadu opener was more intent on preserving his wicket, the Delhiite took the attack to the Aussie seamers.
All the Australian bowlers were taken to the cleaners as Dhawan brought up his century in just 85 balls, the fastest ever Test century on debut. The southpaw was not done yet, and continued with the onslaught post his century.
Dhawan was finally dismissed for a belligerent 187 runs, caught at silly point off Nathan Lyon. These runs were scored off just 174 deliveries, and included 33 fours and 2 maximums.
The opening pair had added a massive 289 runs, a record opening partnership for India against Australia. Vijay also went on to score a well-deserved century (153) as India mustered a score of 499 in their first innings, to take a lead of 91 runs.
Australia were dismissed for 223 runs in their second innings, with the Indian spinners bagging the majority of the wickets. Although Dhawan had injured his finger and could not bat in the second innings, India easily chased down the 133-run target, winning the match by 6 wickets.
Shikhar Dhawan was awarded the Man of the Match for his smashing debut. But since then, he has had a roller-coaster ride in Test cricket, with some good performances interspersed between prolonged lean patches.
Dhawan has represented India in 34 Test matches to date, and has scored 2315 runs at an average of 40.61, including 7 centuries.
8,482 international runs and counting for India 🇮🇳— ICC (@ICC) December 5, 2018
The first Indian to score a century before lunch on the first day of a Test 💯
The fastest century scored on Test debut, off just 85 balls v Australia at Mohali in 2013 🔥
Happy birthday @SDhawan25! pic.twitter.com/yehVBENtBP
#4: Rohit Sharma - 177 vs West Indies, 2013
Rohit Sharma was the 14th Indian overall and the fourth in the 21st century to crack a hundred on Test debut. He managed to do so in the 1st Test of the West Indies' tour to India, played at Kolkata, in 2013.
The Caribbean captain Darren Sammy won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat first. But they could not make the best use of the excellent batting conditions and were bowled out for just 234 runs, with Mohammed Shami picking up 4 wickets.
India did not have a great start either, and four batsmen were back in the pavilion with just 82 runs on the board. The onus was now on the young pair of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to stem the rot, but the former was also dismissed for just 3 runs.
Sharma then steadied the innings in the company of MS Dhoni, and the duo added 73 runs for the 6th wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin then joined Sharma in the middle, in what turned out to be the best phase of the Indian innings.
The pair added 280 runs for the 7th wicket with both of them scoring centuries. Sharma was the first to reach the three-figure mark with consecutive boundaries off the bowling of Sheldon Cottrell.
They were not satisfied with their individual landmarks and continued to torment the Windies attack. Sharma was finally dismissed for an individual score of 177 runs, which included 23 fours and a solitary hit over the fence.
Ashwin too followed him to the hut, and there was not much resistance from the lower order as India folded up for 453 runs in their first innings.
West Indies were behind the eight-ball having conceded a 219-run lead in the 1st innings. They could not put up much of a resistance in the 2nd innings either, and were bowled out for just 168 runs.
Shami was again the star performer with the ball with 5 wickets to his name. Ashwin contributed with the ball as well and claimed 3 wickets, as India won the match by an innings and 51 runs.
Rohit Sharma walked away with the Man of the Match for an impressive showing on his debut. He went on to score another century in the second Test match but could not maintain his consistency for long.
After being in and out of the Indian Test team for a few years, he seems to have finally sealed a spot at the opening position. In all, he has scored 2141 runs in the 32 Test matches he has represented India in. These runs have come at an average of 46.54, and include 6 centuries.
#5: Prithvi Shaw - 134 vs West Indies, 2018
Prithvi Shaw is the 15th Indian overall and the fifth in the 21st century to compile a ton on Test debut. He accomplished this feat in the 1st Test of the West Indies' tour to India, played at Rajkot, in 2018.
The Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat on a belter of a pitch. India were struck an early blow, with KL Rahul back in the pavilion without opening his account.
Cheteshwar Pujara then joined the debutant Shaw at the crease. While the former was his conservative self initially, the Mumbaikar was stroking boundaries at will.
The duo stitched together a 206-run partnership for the second wicket. Shaw got to his maiden Test century in the process with a push through the covers off Keemo Paul's bowling.
Pujara was dismissed for an individual score of 86 runs. Shaw too followed him to the dressing room not long after, offering a return catch to Devendra Bishoo.
But before being dismissed, the India under-19 World Cup-winning captain had smashed 134 runs off just 154 deliveries, which included 19 boundaries.
Prithvi Shaw becomes the youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut! 👏— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) October 4, 2018
He's the second-youngest Indian after Sachin Tendulkar to score a Test hundredhttps://t.co/fhLJxxFXWp #INDvWI pic.twitter.com/uyt7fkbjHC
The rest of the Indian batting sent the West Indians on a leather hunt with centuries from Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja, apart from a stroke-filled 92 by Rishabh Pant. India eventually declared their 1st innings at the score of 649/9.
This massive total proved to be a mountain to climb for the Windies as they folded up for 181 and 196 runs respectively in their two innings. While Ashwin took 4 wickets in the 1st innings, it was Kuldeep Yadav's turn to bamboozle the West Indies in the 2nd innings with a 5-wicket haul.
India thus won the match by a massive margin of an innings and 272 runs. Prithvi Shaw was awarded the Man of the Match for his enterprising innings on debut.
Unfortunately, Shaw was beset with injuries and a doping violation post his debut, and has represented India in just 4 Test matches to date. He has compiled 335 runs at an average of 55.83 in his young Test career, with his only century coming in his maiden Test match.