On 24th August 1971, after 15 losses and six draws, the Indian cricket team registered their first ever Test victory and also their first ever away series victory against England.
After draws in the first two Tests of the series, India headed into the final game with hopes of getting a win but a favourable result seemed an improbable possibility halfway into the game.
Despite half-centuries from Dilip Sardesai and Farokh Engineer, India conceded a 71-run lead in the first innings after getting bowled out for 284 in reply to England’s 355, led by half-centuries from John Hameson, Richard Hutton and Alan Knott. But the course of the match changed on day four.
India captain Ajit Wadekar, on seeing the wicket getting slower, introduced the spinners early. The spinners, especially Bhagwat Chandrasekhar rose to the occasion. John Edrich’s defence was breached on just his fifth ball and Keith Fletcher followed him the next delivery. His spin-partner, S Venkataraghavan dismissed Basil D’Oliveria and Allan Knott in quick time before Chandrasekhar cleaned up the tail to dismiss England for a partly 101, finishing with the second-best figures by an Indian bowler in England at the time.
Sardesai and Wadekar held fort after the early loss of the openers and Engineer, with Abid Ali, took India home on the final day to mark a historic moment in India’s cricketing history.
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