From Nayudu to the Little Master: a short history of India v England, part two

CK Nayudu’s men rock England at the home of cricket

On June 25, 1932, at Lord’s, India took their first bold step in Test cricket and made the world sit up and take notice. CK Nayudu’s men actually had the better of the exchanges against a very strong English side, having them 19 for three as Holmes, Sutcliffe and Wooley fell cheaply. Mahomed Nissar became the first Indian on the Honours Board with five for 95. Ultimately though, it was Douglas Jardine’s men who prevailed, to win by 158 runs. Douglas Jardine, you may recall, had a date with history later that year.

Armanath and Valentine star in India’s first home Test

India played their first ever Test series at home when England came calling in December 1933 under the leadership of Jardine. The tourists comprehensively won the first Test by nine wickets at the Gymkhana Ground in Bombay.

Bryan Valentine’s century gave England a huge first-innings lead even though a young Lala Amarnath scored India’s maiden Test ton. Paceman Stan Nichols picked up a five-wicket haul as England coasted to an easy win and went on to win the three-match series 2-0, with a draw at Eden Gardens and England winning the third Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Highest and lowest totals

No surprises for knowing the highest total. India thumped 759 for seven in Chennai in 2016, far surpassing England’s 477, which might have dared to look pretty good thanks to Moeen Ali’s 146. KL Rahul and Karun Nair barbequed England with 199 for Rahul and 303 not out for Nair. Poor Mooen Ali may well still have nightmares about his one for 193 as India went on to win by an innings and 75 runs.

Lord’s was where Test Cricket began for India, but it’s not been the happiest of hunting grounds for them, winning only twice. In 1974 they recorded the lowest total between the countries, ultimately losing by a whopping innings and 285 runs. England had rattled up 629 with hundreds for Dennis Amiss, Mike Denness and Tony Greig. Bishan Bedi toiled to get six wickets but at a cost of 226 in no fewer than 64.2 overs. After a creditable first innings 302, India’s second innings collapsed in a sorry heap for 42, with Chilly and Horse (aka Chris Old and G.G Arnold) taking all nine wickets between them, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar having been absent hurt.

India chase 387 at Chennai

When it comes to a successful run chase, India has the honour and they did it at Chennai again, in 2008, to record the seventh highest successful chase in Test history. Set 387 by Kevin Pietersen, Sachin Tendulkar, ably supported by Gautam Gamhbir, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, saw India home in 98.3 overs, powered by 83 off 68 balls from Sehwag.

Batting honours – a little master class

Look no further than Sachin for the most runs between the two countries, with his 2,535 in 53 innings. Sunil Gavaskar and Alastair Cook are the only others yet to register over 2,000. Joe Root and Virat Kohli sit on 1,679 and 1,653 as I write in 7th and 8th place.

Karun Nair’s 303 not out may have helped India to the highest team total, but the top dog in the highest score department is Essex man Graham Gooch, whose 333 at Lord’s in 1990 set England on the road to a 247-run win.

Bowling honours for Jimmy and Fred

Four of the top five wicket-takers are Indian – three spinners, Chandrasekar, Anil Kumble and Bedi and one seamer, Kapil Dev. All, of course, have long since retired. But top of the tree is a man still playing and who added six to his tally in some style in the first Chennai Test. It is none other than Jimmy Anderson.

The best innings bowling figures were achieved at Jimmy’s home of Old Trafford, by a man from across the Pennines. On Saturday July 19, 1952, Fred Trueman certainly did know “what was going off out there” as he took eight for 31 and then one for nine whilst Alec Bedser did the damage the other end. India had been bowled out twice in a day for 58 and 82 as England won by an innings and 207 runs.

MS Dhoni and Bob Taylor

Sitting on top of the keeping tree for dismissals is the legendary MS Dhoni with 67, although one of Kent’s finest, Alan Knott is second on 54, from five fewer Tests.

The outstanding match performance was at the Wankhede in 1980, but it was not by an Indian. Bob Taylor took seven catches in the first innings (five off Ian Botham) and three in the second (all off Botham) as England won by one wicket. Derbyshire’s finest holds both the innings record and the match record, but he has Sir Ian, now Lord, Botham to thank for them.

Bell and Pietersen – a partnership made in Kennington

The single biggest partnership of 350 was struck at the Oval in 2011, by the third-wicket paring of Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, powering England towards 581 for six declared.

Ian Bell stroked an imperious 235 and he and Pietersen took England to 447 for three before Pietersen fell for 175, caught and bowled by Suresh Raina. It was very much England’s game as they won by an innings and eight runs.

India finally win in England

In 1971, an England home win was confidently expected. However, under Ajit Wadekar’s captaincy, India were stronger and more formidable on UK soil than their forebears. By winning the final Test at The Oval by four wickets after the first two matches were drawn, India not only broke their cricketing duck in England but also took the series.

Chandrasekhar weaved his magic even on a sluggish pitch and took six for 38 as England’s second innings collapsed to 101 all out. Despite the early jitters caused by Snow and Deadly Derek Underwood, stubborn contributions from India’s middle order of Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai and Viswanath took them most of the way to the 173-run target and Engineer finished the job.

“In Bombay, the birthplace of Indian cricket, unprecedented scenes were witnessed,” Wisden noted.

What’s to come?

After the excitement and no little controversy of the first three Tests in Chennai and Ahmedabad, who knows what we have for the finale. A lot more than two days cricket hopefully. Overall, in 125 matches, England lead 48 to 28, but that is based heavily on their home form. India lead 7-5 for series in India. In 2021, at 2-1, momentum is very much with the home side. England will have to dig deep to rescue a series draw, bearing the mental scars as they do from their recent two-day mauling.

Jingle by Guerilla Cricket

Broadcast Schedule

West Indies v England 2023 White ball series
WI v ENG 2nd ODI, Antigua
6th December
Start time: 5:30 pm GMT
WI v ENG 3rd ODI, Barbados
9th December
Start time: 5:30 pm GMT