Dilip Vengsarkar (1986, Headingley)
Vengsarkar was one batsman who loved playing against England, scoring 960 runs against them in 23 innings at an average of 48. He also holds a unique record of scoring a century at Lord's in three consecutive Test appearances at the venue. But it was in the summer of 1986 when Vengsarkar played one of the finest Test innings at Headingley. In swinging conditions, favouring England bowlers, Vengsarkar scored 61 in the first innings to help India reach 272. England were dismissed for 102 but fought back with early wickets in second innings, reducing India to 35/4.
Vengsarkar then took matters into his own hands, scoring an unbeaten 102 to help India set England a target of 408. They were dismissed for 128 and India took a decisive 2-0 lead in the three-match series. Wisden Almanack had a mention of Vengsarkar's innings, “Vengsarkar had demonstrated, on the ground that nurtured Sutcliffe, Hutton and Boycott, the art of batting on a bad pitch,” it said. “He returned on the Saturday to progress from 33 to 102 not out and prompt his tailenders into a caning of a dispirited attack. As at Lord’s he reached his hundred in the company of Maninder Singh, the number eleven batsman.”
Sachin Tendulkar (1990, Old Trafford)
Scoring the first of his 100 international centuries, Tendulkar played an unforgettable innings at the age of just 17, helping India avoid certain defeat at Old Trafford. Having scored 68 in the first innings, where he took almost an hour to get off the mark, Tendulkar entered in the second with India precariously placed.
With a target of 408 to win the Test, India were struggling at 109/4. However, he guided India to safety along with a handy contribution from Manoj Prabhakar who scored an unbeaten 67. Tendulkar too remained unbeaten on 119, bringing up his century with a punch that would later go on to become one of his trademark shots. David Lloyd, who was in commentary at that time, said that Tendulkar deserved to win the first 'Boy of the Match' award. He was the second youngest player to get a Test ton at the time.
Sourav Ganguly (1996, Lord's)
Making his debut in controversial circumstances after Navjot Singh Sidhu pulled out citing ill-treatment by then captain Mohammad Azharuddin, the southpaw made the most of the opportunity as he smashed a blazing century at Lord's against a strong England attack.
It was the second Test of the three-match series and England had won the first Test, leading the series 1-0. Ganguly walked in at No.3 and set about dismantling the English bowling with some sublime batting. However, he kept losing partners at the other end and it was another debutant, Rahul Dravid, who got together with Ganguly to help India reach 429 and give the visitors a solid first innings lead. Ganguly was finally dismissed for 131 that included 20 boundaries. Ganguly would follow it up with another hundred in the final Test, announcing his arrival on the world stage.
Rahul Dravid (2002, Headingley)
One of Dravid’s best series in England came in 2011, where he scored three hundreds in an otherwise dreadful tour for the team. But it will be the knock in Headingley in 2002 which will remain etched in the memory of Indian fans forever, given the circumstances it came in. India elected to bat in cloudy conditions and lost opener Virender Sehwag early.
In walked Dravid at No.3 and showed great resilience as he blunted out the English bowling and along with Sanjay Bangar, saved the Indian middle-order from being exposed early to the new ball. He spent 429 minutes at the crease, scoring a masterly 148 with 23 boundaries. Despite Tendulkar scoring 193 in the same game in a famous Indian win, Dravid was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.
MS Dhoni (2007, Lord's)
Though this wasn’t a century, but Dhoni at his gritty best as India - helped by rain - earned a hard fought draw against England. It later proved to be crucial as India went onto win the three Test series 1-0.
Set a target of 380 to win, India were struggling at 145/5 when Dhoni walked out in the middle to join VVS Laxman. The two put together an 86-run stand before Laxman was dismissed. Dhoni was left to bat with the tail and he did that superbly, scoring 76 off 159 deliveries with 10 boundaries. India were 282/9 with Sreesanth batting alongside Dhoni before rain gods intervened and helped India pull off a miraculous draw.
dilip vengsarkarengland vs india 2018India vs EnglandMS DhoniRahul Dravidsachin tendulkarsourav gangulytop batting performances
First Published: July 24, 2018, 10:45 AM IST