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The first innings victory for each Test nation

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Test_Cricket_innings_victoryThe West Indies came a cropper in the recently-concluded two-Test series against Bangladesh, as their batting repeatedly faltered in the face of the hosts’ spin onslaught. The comprehensive 2-0 clean sweep was the Tigers’ first home success against the Windies. Of particular significance was the second Test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, as it marked Bangladesh’s first win by an innings in what was their 112th Test appearance.

On that note, here is a look at when each of the Test teams (excluding the recently-elevated Afghanistan and Ireland) achieved their first ever innings victory, with the respective team’s match number shown in brackets.

Pakistan (Test # 2, Lucknow, 1952-53)

Pakistan recorded their maiden Test win in only their second outing, against India at the University Ground in Lucknow. Coming off an innings defeat in their inaugural Test at Delhi, Pakistan bounced back in style, bundling India out for 106 on the first day. All the wickets fell to pace bowling, with Fazal Mahmood (5/52) leading the way. Pakistan responded strongly, through an opening stand of 63 between Nazar Mohammad and wicketkeeper Hanif Mohammad.

Nazar went on to carry his bat, remaining unbeaten on a defiant 124 that steered the total to 331. The indefatigable Fazal was at it again in the second innings, as he cut through the Indian batting line-up to return a career-best 7/42, giving himself match figures of 12/94. Captain Lala Amarnath was the only batsman who managed to keep Fazal at bay, scoring 61* from number seven. India ultimately folded for 182 to hand Pakistan a historic win by an innings and 43 runs.

England (Test # 11, Melbourne, 1882-83)

England became the first team to win a Test by an innings when they beat Australia by an innings and 27 runs in the second Test of the very first Ashes series. Fifties from Charles Leslie (54), Walter Read (75) and Billy Bates (55) carried England to 294, after which Australia crumbled for 114 against the off-spin of Bates (7/28). Bates was not done yet, as he took another 7/74 when Australia followed on. The hosts lost eight wickets for 87 to be bowled out for 153.

Zimbabwe (Test # 11, Harare, 1994-95)

Pakistan were left stunned in their first Test in Zimbabwe, as Test cricket’s newest entrants inflicted on them a defeat by an innings and 64 runs to notch their first success in the five-day format. Zimbabwe slipped to 42/3 before the Flower brothers, Grant (who opened) and Andy, joined forces for a monumental fourth-wicket partnership of 269. Andy was out for 156, but Guy Whittall (113*) helped Grant raise another 133* for the fifth wicket to frustrate Pakistan further.

Grant Flower proceeded to score a career-best 201* that consumed nearly 11 hours, as Zimbabwe declared at 544/4. Pakistan slumped to 151/6 in their first innings before Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 71 pushed the total to 322. Pacer Heath Streak starred for the hosts with 6/90. Streak and his fellow seamers David Brain and Guy Whittall took three wickets each in the second innings, as Pakistan, despite Inzamam’s 65, never really recovered from 35/5 and were all out for 158.

South Africa (Test # 16, Cape Town, 1905-06)

Opener John Crawford (74) began soundly for England, but his wicket induced a collapse from 137/4 to 187 all out. South Africa were then reduced to 87/5, before Tip Snooke (60) revived the innings. But the bigger boost was a tenth-wicket stand of 94 between captain Percy Sherwell and Ernie Vogler (62), which lifted the total to 333. England could muster only 130 in the second attempt, giving South Africa victory by an innings and 16 runs, as also the five-match series 4-1.

West Indies (Test # 19, Kingston, 1934-35)

The four-match series was locked at 1-1 coming into this decider. With the West Indies looking to win their maiden series, George Headley played one of the great Test innings, striking a fine 270* that powered the total to 535/7. Headley put on 202 for the third wicket with Derek Sealy (91) and 147 for the seventh wicket with Rolph Grant (77). England made 271 (Les Ames scoring 126) in their first innings, but only 103 in the second, losing by an innings and 161 runs.

India (Test # 25, Madras, 1951-52)

It took India almost two decades and 25 matches to win their first Test, and when they did, they made sure that it was by the handsome margin of an innings and eight runs. The long-awaited occasion arrived at Chepauk in the final Test of a five-Test series against England, who were till then holding a 1-0 lead. The foundation was laid by the left-arm spin of Vinoo Mankad, whose 8/55 limited the tourists to 266. Wicketkeeper Probir Sen effected four stumpings off Mankad.

Opener Pankaj Roy scored a fluent 111 to give India the upper hand, before Polly Umrigar hit an unbeaten 130 from number seven to consolidate his team’s position. Umrigar put on 104 with Dattu Phadkar (61) and 93 with Coimbatarao Gopinath for the sixth and seventh wickets respectively, enabling captain Vijay Hazare to declare at 457/9. Mankad added another 4/53 to his kitty, and combined with off-spinner Ghulam Ahmed (4/77) to bowl England out for 183.

Australia (Test # 42, Sydney, 1894-95)

Australia forced an Ashes decider by winning this fourth Test by an innings and 147 runs. Such a result seemed unthinkable on the first morning though, when the Australian score read 51/6. Harry Graham (105) and Albert Trott (85) turned things around by adding 112 for the eighth wicket, taking the total to 284, before England were shot out for just 65. England imploded in the second innings too, as George Giffen (5/26) and Charlie Turner (4/33) rolled them over for 72.

Sri Lanka (Test # 67, Colombo, 1996)

Zimbabwe’s first Test in Sri Lanka, played at the Premadasa Stadium, resulted in them being trounced by an innings and 77 runs. Sri Lanka began sluggishly, and were wobbling at 128/5 at one stage, before captain Arjuna Ranatunga (75) and wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana (71) shared in a sixth-wicket stand of 142. Zimbabwe replied to Sri Lanka’s 349 with a feeble 145, and then tumbled for 127 while following on, with off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan taking 5/33.

Bangladesh (Test # 112, Dhaka, 2018-19)

A solid batting display, coupled with the efforts of an all-spin attack, sealed Bangladesh’s series-clinching win by an innings and 184 runs against the West Indies. Debutant opener Shadman Islam (76) and captain Shakib Al Hasan (80) held the top order together, before Mahmudullah’s 136 from number seven spurred the Tigers to 508. The spinners, spearheaded by offie Mehedi Hasan (7/58 and 5/59) took over thereafter, dismissing the hapless West Indians for 111 and 213.

New Zealand (Test # 119, Wellington, 1975-76)

New Zealand bloomed late on the Test scene – it took them 45 matches to register their first win. Not surprisingly, their first win by an innings took 119 matches. Needing a win to draw the three-match series, they routed India by an innings and 33 runs at the Basin Reserve. The great Richard Hadlee (4/35) helped restrict India to 220, after which Mark Burgess’ 95 propelled the hosts to 334. Hadlee was even better in the second innings, capturing 7/23 to skittle India for 81.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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