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Sunday, July 29, 2007

India's Overseas Test Cricket Victories - Part 1

It's sad enough - the scope of this post, the fact that it's possible to discuss every single of India's overseas test wins in a series of a few posts. Did you know that in the 75 years since India played their first cricket test, we have won just 28 tests out of home! And yes, that includes our wins against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Did you know that the current test, the 2nd India-England match being played at Trent Bridge is India's 200th test-match overseas? Fortunately enough, it looks like this 2nd centenary will end on a happy note.
India's overseas Test Cricket Record (until the beginning of the Trent Bridge Test)
Played: 199, Won: 28, Lost: 84, Drawn: 87
Yet, and probably that's why, each one of this wins was special. Here's the 1st part on this series on Indian Cricket's glorious moments abroad.
1. The 1st away win took a decade and a half to come. It was in the 1st test of the1967/68 tour to New Zealand that India recorded its maiden test victory. Nawab of Pataudi Jr., widely believed to be India's best ever captain had been captain for almost 7 years then, when the historic moment came at Carisbrook, Dunedin.

Batting first, New Zealand piled up 350 only to be overtaken by India, though by just 9 runs. It was India's bowling and fielding in the 2nd innings that proved decisive. Prasanna scalped 6 wickets and there were 2 run-outs including that of NZ captain Barry Sinclair, who may not have then realized that his test career was fast drawing to a close. Prasanna's stars on the other hand, were on the ascendancy - he was to return to this country eight years later to record his best bowling figures of 8 for 76. That match, as you will see later, was to be the maiden test victory for yet another Indian captain.

NZ: 350 & 208, India: 359 & 200/5. Ground: Carisbrook, Dunedin. 15-20 Feb 1968

2. Unlike the first win which took 15 years, the second one came quicker - in 15 days. The series was level at 1-1, New Zealand having won the second test. Prasanna came to the party again, taking 9 wickets in the match. He was ably supported by Bapu Nadkarni (of the maiden overs record fame) who dismissed 6 NZ batsmen in the 2nd innings. Ajit Wadekar scored a match winning 143 and India went up 2-1.
NZ: 186 & 199, India: 327 & 59/2. Ground: Basin Reserve, Wellington, 29 Feb - 4 Mar
3. This was to be Rusi Surti's match, whose all-round skills helped India record its first back-to-back test wins outside of home and more importantly it sealed the series in India's favour - India's first test series win overseas. Surti scored a total of 127 runs in the match, with a 99 in the second innings - a score he could never improve upon in his short test career. The all-rounder also took 4 wickets and alongwith Prasanna, Bedi and Nadkarni dismissed NZ for sub-150 scores twice.

India: 252 & 261/5, NZ: 101 & 140. Ground: Eden Park, Auckland. 7-12 Mar 1968

On this tour of Australia & NZ, Rusi Surti scored more runs than anyone else - a total of 967 runs and he also took 42 wickets. Unfortunately for India, Surti didn't play for long for India, prefering instead to provide his services to Queensland.
4. Sunil Manohar Gavaskar made his test debut on 6th March 1971 at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and didn't take long to stamp his class. His pair of fifties in his debut match, a century by Dileep Sardesai and the wizardry of Prasanna, Venkatraghavan and Bedi helped India chalk up a rather easy win - India's first test victory in the West Indies, and 4th overseas.

West Indies: 214 & 261, India: 261 & 125/3. Ground: Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad. 6th Mar - 10th March 1971

5. India's 5th overseas success can also be described as India's first come-from-behind win outside home. Having conceded a 74 run lead, India bounced back led by Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, arguably India's biggest match winner overseas. (42 wickets in 5 tests) The English batters were bamboozled into submission by Chandra who returned with 2nd innings figures of 6-38. England were bowled out for a meagre 101, giving India a chase of 174. Gavaskar got out for a duck, but skipper Ajit Wadekar saw to it that India reach home safely. His unbeaten 45 was supported by Sardesai's 40 and useful innings from Vishy and Engineer.

24 years and 9 days since achieving its freedom from England, India had turned the tables on its masters in the imperialist's favourite sport. It took a long time coming, but it had - and the speed of the rise of India's fortunes and England's decline in the game would only gain momentum in the next couple of decades. The shakcles had been truly broken and what better venue to do it than London.
England: 355 & 101, India: 281 & 174/6. Ground: Kennington Oval, London. 19-24 August 1971
6. Eight years after leading India's efforts at their first overseas win, Prasanna returned to the land of his former exploits. Sunil Gavaskar was now the captain of India, and in the 1st test of this 1976 series debuted 2 men who were to play long and important innings for Indian cricket: Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani. Both had rather forgettable debuts; wicket-keeper Kirmani not being a part of even a single dismissal (Only 9 more times would that happen in a career spanning 10 years). It was however the 3rd debutant who made a stronger impact on the immediate proceedings. Surinder Amarnath, coming in first down and Gavaskar compiled a match winning 204 run partnership. Both scored fine centuries and India took a lead of 148 runs.
Prasanna rocked the Kiwi boat in the 2nd innings, taking 8 for 76, his career best. Eight years back, Prasanna's wiles had turned the match decisively in India's favour. Eight years later, the master's wizardry sealed the match for India again. For captain Gavaskar, this success must have been the sweetest - it was his maiden win as captain of India.
Newzealand: 266 & 215, India: 414 & 71/2. Ground: Eden Park, Auckland. 24-28 January 1976

For Part 2 of India's Overseas Test Cricket Victories, click here.


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Cricket_village said...

nice really nice post keep up the momento

Amit Bajaj said...

thanks man