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India's incredible wins


India_Test_Wins_Cricket1On 25th June, 1932, India first stepped into Test cricket. The first time an Indian team appeared in a Test Match was against Douglas Jardine’s England at Lord’s. It has been a long journey for Indian cricket, beginning as just an ordinary sport, to now, when it is a religion. 

85 years of Test cricket have passed and India have played more than 500 Test Matches and made many records. India, somehow, is one of only two nations whose Test career started at the Mecca of Cricket. The other is the West Indies, having made their debut just four years earlier. 

Here’s a look at some of India’s great Test victories. 


1) India VS England, Chennai, 1952

It was almost twenty years since India started playing Test cricket and during this time, it would be fair to say that the Indian team was far from being contenders for world supremacy. Team India had many good players to leave a mark on the world then. They did the same by playing a draw against the likes of England and Australia which was considered at par if not an actual victory. So it was the final Test of the home series against England and with India 1-0 down, still many felt that this wasn’t the strongest of English teams to visit India. Many heavyweights during that time decided to skip Indian tour considering it a “Boring” tour.

However, a legendary Indian all rounder Vinoo Mankad wanted more than just another draw. A brilliant spell of spin bowling from him (8-55) saw England being dismissed for 266, a total that looked even more modest when India, spurred by centuries from Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar who together took India to 457. Eventually it was India’s win and an English defeat which was way beyond everyone’s imagination, Mankad again played a key role, taking 4-53 as England were knocked down for 183, giving India an innings victory and their first ever win in Test cricket.


2) India VS England, Leeds, 1967

In 1967, Team India went into the series as a big time underdogs and no one in real expected any fight from a team that had unfairly earned a reputation for flinching against pace bowling. It was all according to the plan in the opening Test when England set a massive total of 550-4, special thanks to Geoff Boycott for scoring an unbeaten 246, and then dismissed the visitors for 164. England asked India to follow on and many felt that an English win was only a formality. That was the time when India found a new star- Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the captain of the Indian team. Pataudi who was deprived of proper vision in one eye because of a car accident, he was undoubtedly on his day one of the bravest and most exciting players in world cricket. He then went on to play the innings of his life, when his team was in all sorts of troubles. Fifties by Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar and Hanumant Singh set the platform for recovery and Pataudi then went on to unleash some of the most ferocious strokeplay as he scored 148 to help India cross the 500 mark and ended their innings on 510. Having set England the target of just 125 runs to win the match, a different result was in the eyes of Pataudi. Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Erapalli Prasanna with their spin bowling befuddled the top order. 

In the end, England reached their target but India in the eyes of many, won respect. That amazing second innings fightback is still considered as the great Indian second inning fight backs. Later after the Test got over, an English newspaper headline summed up the impact of the Indian performance. England might have had won the Test but a newspaper headlines said it all: “Nawab of Headingley”!


3) India VS West Indies, Port of Spain, 1971 

The one year which probably changed everything for Indian cricket was probably 1971. It is considered as the greatest single year for Indian cricket and to get it going was a tour of the West Indies. Though the West Indies were seen as a team in decline at that stage with the likes legends retiring from the format still they were a formidable side at home, and had one of the greatest all rounder of all time, Sir Garfield Sobers, as well as legendary batsman Rohan Kanhai. 


India, on the other hand, had their famous spinners but wasn't considered anything special, and was under a new captain, Ajit Wadekar. However, it became clear that this would not be a walk in the park for the home team as India against all the odds drew the 1st test of this series, special thanks to Dilip Sardesai’s double century which made the West Indies follow on.


Now the teams went to Port of Spain and India stood there to create history. The visitors first got out the West Indies for 214 (Erapalli Prasanna taking 4-54) and then batted bravely to reach 352, thanks to another century from Dilip Sardesai, who was emerging as the star of the series. Later West Indies left India a target of 124 to win their first Test in the Caribbean. 

The target was easily chased down by the Indian Batters with some help from a youngster playing his first Test Match. He followed a solid 65 in the first innings with a very sensible unbeaten 67 in the 2nd innings. India won the match and the series and that young man set a record for the most runs in a debut Test series that has still not been broken. Dilip Sardesai might have been the star of the show, but the spotlight would move slowly to a certain Sunil Manohar Gavaskar!


4) India VS England, London, 1971

Indian cricket’s adventurous year continued with a tour of England that no one could have predicted. Although the Indians announced their arrival with a bang after a surprising win against the West Indies in the Caribbean. The Indian team was all set to lock horns with the best in the world, Ray Illingworth’s English team. Once again, the Indian side surprised people by refusing to roll over the die – the visitors were unable to hold their nerves and the first testended 38 runs short of victory with two wickets in hand, and then hung on for a draw in the second Test as well after conceding a massive first innings lead. England however seemed to have the third and final Test in their grasp when the scored 355 and then dismissed India for 284. 

But then India’s legendary spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar got into one of his freak moods and it was more like a storm in the shape of fizzy spin had hit English cricket. England was all out for 101 in their second innings, leaving India 173 to win. England made them fight for every run but ended on a losing side. Abid Ali scored the winning runs to seal a famous Test and series win, earning India for a very short time the unofficial title of world champions. 


5) India VS Pakistan, Chennai, 1980


A very famous win for India came in the year 1980 against the arch-rivals Pakistan. It was a match in which India showed a great dominance and eventually won the match by 10 wickets. The surface where India played Pakistan was a tricky track and winning the contest by 10 wickets proved that the Indian team was significant. 


The win sealed India’s first Test series win against full strength opposition for a long timeand also which was sort of revenge for a 2-0 drubbing in Pakistan a year before. And remarkably, it was achieved by a team that on paper was given no chance whatsoever – as per most pundits, India had only two world class players, Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath while Kapil Dev was still a youngster, while Pakistan had stars in their team but special thanks to Kapil Dev who took a 11 wicket haul to register a famous win. 


6) India VS Australia, Kolkata, 2001 

The match that is still in the minds of every Indian Cricket fan is considered as the all time greatest Test which featured a staggering batting performance from Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. The mighty Aussies made India follow on yet again in a test match and Steve Waugh’s dream of defeating India in a test series on Indian soil would be completed. But it not what destiny set for Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman who perhaps showed one of the greatest batting performances in Indian Test history, adding 376 runs for the fifth wicket. Laxman became the first Indian to go past 250 runs in a Test innings and ended up with 281 while Dravid scored 180. A brilliant bowling spell later by Harbhajan Singh ended up India winning the contest by 171 runs.  


7) India VS Pakistan, Multan, 2004

Win against Pakistan in 1980 was just a small trailer of dominance that was shown by the Indian team. In 2004 the real picture came out when the heavy weights locked horns one more time, this time in Pakistan. It was nothing new but yet another win against the same opposition, only the place changed this time- Multan, showed the modern face of Indian cricket at its best. 

In this particular series against Pakistan, Virender Sehwag confirmed his status as the most devastating batsman in Test cricket, something he had given ample hint of in the series against Australia earlier in the season. Against a team like Pakistan which considered bowling its forte, Sehwag smashed the first Test triple hundred by an Indian at a rate that left people flabbergasted – his 309 came off a mere 375 deliveries and India declared their innings on 675-5.

Later Irfan Pathan and Anil Kumble cleaned up the Pakistan batting to give India an innings victory, and establish a new template for Indian cricket – one that revolved around devastatingly aggressive batting. After a comprehensive win it was safe to say that the era of Sehwag-Sachin- Rahul-Laxman had well and truly arrived. And since then Virender Sehwag would always be known as the “Sultan of Multan!”


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Yatin Singh is a graduate of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studied B.A (H) Journalism. Yatin,...

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