England is a special place for India. For, it was here that India the Test-playing nation was born. Back in 1932, India visited England for the first time. It was called ‘All India XI’ back then as India was still a British colony. Fast forward 89 years and one thing stays unchanged: the charm of playing a Test match in Lord’s.
India is already in England and they look to win the five-match Test series which begins on August 4. In second half of the last century, India have done fairly well in the British Isles. Here are the numbers:
Matches Played 126
India Won 30
England Won 49
First Played 25 June 1932
Last Played 4 March 2021
Here are the last five series summaries:
India tour of England (2002): India were a team in transition back then, and needed to prove that they can be world beaters, especially after halting Steve Waugh’s invincibles in 2001. It was here in England that Dada’s legacy actually began. India had defeated England in the Natwest Triangular only to lose the series opener in Lord’s. The second Test was drawn and the visitors arrived at Kent with conditions favouring the English bowlers. It was cold, dark and overcast. But, here the visitors came into their own; Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly all scored centuries as India posted a mammoth 628/8 in their first innings. They won the game by an innings and held England to a draw in the final Test match at The Oval. India left England with 1-1 draw and heads held high.
India tour of England (2007): After 2007 World Cup debacle, Team India’s fans were losing hope in their own gods. It was at this juncture that India arrived in England. The Fab Four (who would play for the last time in England) had to prove that they still had it in them. England dished out a green track at Lord’s but India held on to a draw. In the second Test at Trent Bridge—Zaheer Khan came into his own as he bowled his heart out; he was also egged on by the ‘jelly bean’ incident where England cricketers (someone in slip cordon) threw chewing gums at the 22-yard-strip when Zaheer came out to bat. It was a ploy to unsettle Zaheer but proved counter-productive. He went onto take nine wickets in the game and took India to a historic win. The final game at the Oval saw century from veteran Anil Kumble as India played out a draw. India won the three-game series 1-0.
India tour of England (2011): If 2007 was a second wind for the Fab Four, then 2011 was the first chink in MS Dhoni the captain’s armory. India had won the World Cup that year; but, in span of few months they were whitewashed in England. English broadcasters were building this one up as the ‘series of the summer’; in the end it was anything but. India lost all games and Dhoni’s defensive captaincy only made things worse. (Series 4-0 to England)
India vs England (2014): Dhoni and his team- which had plethora of next-gen stars like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara—landed in England three years later. Although the visitors had to play a five-match series this time, there was no change in their fortunes. They drew in Cardiff and won the second Test at Lord’s. Ajinkya Rahane played one of the best knocks of his career and was well supported by Ishant Sharma with the ball. However, from this point on India’s free fall began. They lost at Southampton and had no answer to off spinner Moeen Ali. The next two Tests in Old Trafford and The Oval were nightmares for Dhoni’s men—especially for future superstar Virat Kohli. (Series 3-1 to England)
India vs England (2018): India might have lost 1-4 but the numbers don’t tell the whole picture. Except Lord’s, India came at England very very hard. The series marked a turnaround for skipper Virat Kohli himself who had a horror show four years earlier. He slammed a century in series opener as India gave England run for the money, but lost that game. However, never for a second did they looked at back-foot. The second Test at Lord’s saw England dominate with huge win. But Kohli scored another ton in the next Test at Nottingham. Cheteshwar Pujara too made a century as India levelled the series. India, however, lost the plot in Southampton and the Oval but ran England close. The ‘devil may care’ stand between Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul in the final Test showed the world what’s in store as far as Indian cricket was concerned. However, once that stand broke, visitors imploded. It was the same pattern that India followed throughout the series. It was a young team, learning on the go and in the end, England were just masters of their own conditions. (Series 1-4 to England)