Golden Ducks: How Elgar’s misfortunate ranks in the record books

Dean Elgar was dismissed on the first ball of the Boxing Day Test between South Africa and England. It's an unfortunate and rare feat.

Note: The term for being dismissed on the first ball of a Test is sometimes also referred to as a diamond duck, however, in some parts that’s a reference for being dismissed without facing a ball. In order to avoid confusion – this article will use the term golden duck when referencing batsmen who were dismissed on the first ball of a Test.

South Africa’s Dean Elgar earned himself a quacker on day one of the first Test against England in Centurion on Thursday. And not just any quacker – a very shiny one.

It was only the 32nd time in Test cricket that a player suffered the unfortunate fate of being dismissed with the first ball of a Test and the first since 2017.

The only silver lining for Elgar is that he wasn’t on debut.

Only two players – Jimmy Cook and Leon Garrick – had such a dismal start to their Test careers. The South African went on to play just two further Tests while the West Indies’ Garrick never donned the whites in international cricket again.

Mercifully, too, is that it was only the first time Elgar was dismissed this way.

Both Sunil Gavaskar and Hannan Sarkar earned themselves a golden duck on three occasions.

Geoff Arnold, Sir Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev and Pedro Collins are the only four bowlers who dismissed batsmen for golden ducks more than once.

Just two South African bowlers – Allan Donald and Dale Steyn – have achieved the feat.

While dismissals on the first ball of a Test are extremely rare – there were none such instances from December 2010 to August 2016, for example – first ball of any innings wickets are slightly more common.

In total – including Elgar and the first ball of the match dismissals – this has happened 116 times.

First ball of an innings dismissals in Tests

Note: The figures are totals overall, meaning players who earned the dishonour of being dismissed this way more than once will be counted more than once.

Diamondducks

Statistics taken from ESPNCricinfo.

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Staff Reporter