Indian men’s cricket team have played and registered several memorable wins over the England side in their backyard in the last few years. However, none of these victories come close to India winning their first-ever Test match as well their first series win in the longest format of the game on English soil. And Team India had registered this feat on this very same day, over fifty years ago. Ajit Wadekar was handed over the Indian team’s captaincy in January 1971 from Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
Wadekar-led Team India were high on confidence when they were travelling to England in the summer of 1971, having defeated West Indies 1-0 in five-match Test series in the Caribbean.
The Indian team had some legendary batters in their ranks in Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath and Dilip Sardesai during their three-match tour of England. However, it was the spin quad of the country – Erapalli Prasanna, Bishan Singh Bedi, Bhagwath Chandrashekhar and S Venkataraghavan – that fired India to their first win over the British team.
The first Test match of the series was dominated by India. However, it ended in a draw. In the second Test, rain played spoilsport at Old Trafford as the match once again ended in a draw.
With the series tied at 0-0, India and England again locked horns with each other in the tournament decider at the Oval.
Bowling first, India bundled out England for 355 runs in their first innings, courtesy of some brilliant bowling from Bedi and Eknath Solkar. The duo of Bedi and Eknath Solkar shared nine wickets between them.
In response, India were bowled out for 284 runs with the English team taking a 71-run lead. In England second innings, Chandrashekhar picked a match-winning six-wicket haul as India bowled out hosts for 101 runs.
Chasing 173 runs to win the match, India won the match by four wickets to record their first-ever Test win in England. With this win, India also won the three-match series 1-0, to register their first Test series win in England.