All eyes will be on Virat Kohli when India lock horns with hosts England in the five-match Test series. The India skipper’s dismal record in his previous tour of England has been in the limelight as the build-up to the eagerly anticipated series continues.
England has been one of the tougher tests for India’s batsmen in their overseas sojourns and 2018 promises to be no different. After first touring England in 1932, India are now gearing up to play their 58th Test on English shores.
Here, we look at five of the best Test innings by an Indian batsman in England.
148 – Headingley, 2002
The 2002 tour of England was the making of Rahul Dravid as a Test batsman with the right-hander going on to score three centuries in the four matches. However, his best innings came during the third Test at Headingley.
India lost opener Virender Sehwag early after batting first at Leeds before Dravid walked in and scored a typically stubborn ton. The right-hander toiled for 307 balls and 429 minutes at the crease as he made 148 which laid the most solid of foundations for India. Sachin Tendulkar (193) and Sourav Ganguly (128) then feasted on a worn-out English bowling attack to help India tie the series with victory by an innings and 46 runs.
102 not out – Headingley, 1986
Sixteen years before Dravid played his stupendous innings at Headingley, Dilip Vengsarkar did something similar at the same venue. On a pitch where seam and swing thrived, Vengsarkar’s 61-run knock in the first-innings helped India to a substantial lead.
However, it was his knock in the second innings which will be remembered for its impact. On a pitch where no other batsman from either side scored more than 36, Vengsarkar remained unbeaten on 102 to pave the way for a 279-run win for India. The right-hander continued to wage a lone battle while other Indian batsmen fell like nine pins and his perseverance helped India seal a famous series win at Headingley.
119 not out – Old Trafford, 1990
It was 28 years ago that the legend that is Sachin Tendulkar took the cricketing world by storm with a tremendous innings. Then a 17-year-old, Tendulkar and India were up against it after England set the visitors a mammoth target of 408 to win in the second innings.
India found themselves in all sorts of trouble after being reduced to 127-5 before Tendulkar took the initiative and registered the first of his 51 Test tons. The teenager was unbeatable as England failed to find a way past his bat and his unbeaten knock of 119 ensured that India saved the Test with a hard-earned draw. That knock in Manchester is arguably Tendulkar’s best performance in England even though he went on to play quite a few innings of note in the country.
126 not out – Lord’s, 1986
The only batsman to feature twice in the list, Vengsarkar played a gem of knock at Lord’s before his heroics at Headingley in the tour of 1986. After England had managed to score 294 in the first innings, Vengsarkar and Mohinder Amarnath formed a solid partnership for the third wicket in India’s reply. However, once the latter was dismissed, wickets started tumbling in heaps. Vengsarkar, though, dug in to defy the England bowlers.
He remained unbeaten till the very end to help India take a 47-run lead which proved to be vital in the end as the visitors went on to claim a five-wicket win. Vengsarkar scored a record three tons on the trot at the iconic venue but his 1986 innings remains the best he has played at the ground.
221 – The Oval, 1979
India were trailing 1-0 in the four-match series when the final Test at The Oval started. Geoffrey Boycott’s ton for England in the second innings meant the visitors were set a near-improbable target of 438 to win in the final innings. Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan then gave India the perfect start as they put together 213 runs for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed.
Gavaskar though, soldiered on with one of his best Test innings as he stitched a valuable 153-run partnership with Vengsarkar. His knock put India on the verge of one of the most famous Test wins ever but his dismissal for a 443-ball 221 saw the visitors scramble for safety in the final session. In the end, India finished their innings at 429-8, just eight runs short of what would have been a remarkable Test win.
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