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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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A memorable debut by Masakadza

By Mohandas Menon

**Four days ago, Zimbabwe's teenage sensation Hamilton Masakadza at 17 years, 353 days had become the youngest Zimbabwean to appear in a Test match. He bettered the previous mark of 18 years, 66 days held by wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu, just in the last Test match also against West Indies at Bulawayo on July 17, 2001.

**Two days later, Masakadza's maiden hundred at 17 years, 355 days, made him the youngest batsman in Test cricket history to record a hundred on Test debut. He bettered the previous record of 18 years, 327 days held by Pakistani Salim Malik (100 not out) against Sri Lanka at Karachi in March 1982.

**His hundred also makes him the youngest to score a Test century against the West Indies. The previous youngest was by Pakistani Imran Nazir, who was 18 years, 158 days, when he scored 131 at Bridgetown in May last year.

**He, also became, by far, the youngest Zimbabwean to score a Test century. Guy Whittall was 22 years, 149 days when he scored an unbeaten 113 against Pakistan at Harare in February 1995.

**He now becomes the only second Zimbabwean to score a Test hundred on debut. Former skipper and batsman Dave Houghton had scored 121 against India at Harare in October 1992 in Zimbabwe's inaugural Test match. However, Houghton achieved this feat in his very first innings, while Masakadza did so in his second innings.

**Masakadza, who is still a schoolboy at the Churchill High School in Harare, had created history in February this year, when he became the first black Zimbabwean to score a century in Zimbabwean first-class cricket. He had scored an exact 100 against the CFX Academy at Harare in the local domestic Logan Cup competition, which incidentally was his only second first-class match. He was then just 17 years, 191 days and that made him the youngest Zimbabwean ever to register a first-class century, beating the previous record held by teammate Alistair Campbell.

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