Adam Voges, aged 35 years 243 days, after 160 First class matches has been given his first Test match. He has taken his opportunity in two hands and scored a century on debut. At the end of day one, Cricket Australia made one of their fanciful Facebook posts, “Is this the best catch ever taken by a player on debut”. The usual hyperbole. While that was a ridiculous statement, perhaps Voges could lay claim to having scored one of the best centuries on debut. And it is a fact that he is the oldest player to make a century on debut.
Looking at the bare bones, it was a century of the highest quality and showed considerable skill and maturity. Voges made 130 not out and at the half way point of the match, no other batsman had reached 40. Voges on his own came close to the Windies total of 148 and it is hard to imagine that Australia would have had of a lead, if any, without Voges. He came in with the score at 3/61 and held the innings together from there. And with Lyon and Hazelwood, he put on 140 runs for the last two wickets. That is very significant and it was not until then that Australia really gained the upper hand. Australia still needs to bat last against a very impressive leg-spinner in Devendra Bishoo (Bishoo took a 6/80 in Australia’s innings).
I do need to come clean. I had not put anything on the blog but I had been saying that I didn’t think Voges should be in the squad or team. This was based purely on his age. My eldest daughter pointed out that the selectors were simply adhering to my mantra of selecting form players from the Shield. I agree that on that basis he had earned a chance. My point was that it did not seem to make sense to select a 36 year old for the first time, to add to a squad of aging players. Joe Burns, an encouraging young batsman, had scored a pair of fifties in the last Test that Australia played. He finished strongly in the Shield and he didn’t even make the squad. Well done to Voges and good for the selectors and Australia but I stand by my original assessment.