India vs England: From Sachin Tendulkar's maiden Test ton to Ajinkya Rahane's Lord's special, top centuries by Indians in England

With the first Test just between India and England a week away, let us go through the top five innings by an Indian batsman in England.

FirstCricket Staff, July 24, 2018

England might have won the ODI series and India might have thrashed Eoin Morgan and Co in T20Is, but the real test lies in the Test series which begins from 1 August.

The last time India won a Test series in England was in 2007. Since then, India have managed to win only a solitary Test in England. The 2011 tour was a disaster, while England thrashed MS Dhoni's men after the famous victory at Lord's three summers later. With the English batting line-up in transition mode, Virat Kohli and Co have a great opportunity to repeat the feats of 1971, 1986 and 2007.

With the first Test just a week away, let us go through five of the most memorable knocks by Indian batsmen in England:

Sunil Gavaskar 221, 1979

Thanks to some rain and poor weather, India entered the fourth Test of the 1979 tour with a realistic chance of drawing the series. India were handed a thrashing in the first Test at Lord's, and the next two Tests had ended in draws. Goes without saying that India needed a result in their favour at The Oval in the fourth Test.

But the first four days of the match were as dull as it could get and the match seemed to be heading only in one direction when England set India a target of 438. It suddenly had become a game of survival for the Indians. Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan gave India a good start; the score read 76/0 at stumps on fourth day.

Incidentally, Gavaskar told Yajurvindra Singh, his roommate, that India had a slight chance because the pitch was too good at batting. He backed up his thoughts with action.

Gavaskar stitched mammoth stands with Chauhan and Dilip Vengsarkar. With 12 overs to go in the day, India were 366/1 and needed only 76 runs and firmly in driver's seat, and then the twists followed.

Vengsarkar was dismissed for 52 while Kapil Dev too was sent back for a duck. However, there was still hope in the Indian dressing room as Gavaskar was at the crease, but Ian Botham crushed it by getting rid of the dangerman for 221.

Eventually, it came down to the final. India needed 15 runs. England were two wickets away. Karsan Ghavri and Bharath Reddy played out the five balls and the captains shook hands with one ball to go.

Sachin Tendulkar 119, 1990

The first of the Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds was scored in Manchester in the second match of the three-Test series. Who would've known that 99 more would follow? But nonetheless, there was a fair bit of excitement in the air when Tendulkar, a child prodigy then, neared the milestone.

He had an opportunity to be the youngest century-maker in Napier during the New Zealand tour, but was dismissed for 88. The chance to break Mushtaq Mohammad's record wouldn't come again, but his first century would six months later.

England had set a target of 408 and India found themselves at 183/6, with young Tendulkar and Manoj Prabhakar at the crease.

Tendulkar, while high on confidence after the 68 he scored in first innings, took almost an hour to get off the mark. But once he did that, the shots were on exhibition in full flow.

In a match, where the likes of Graham Gooch, Mike Atherton, Robin Smith, Mohammad Azharuddin scored centuries, Tendulkar's was considered to be the best of the lot. For two reasons: he saved the match and for the sheer class from a young but confident batsman.

India drew the Test and a certain Sachin Tendulkar had announced himself at the international arena.

Rahul Dravid 148, 2002

It was a green wicket. The bowlers wanted to bowl. The batsmen wanted his captain to win the toss. The sight at Leeds would've scared most batsmen, and not just the Indian ones, whose struggle in swinging conditions was quite known. But Sourav Ganguly surprised everyone by opting to bat. The decision seemed all the more ridiculous when Virender Sehwag was out early for eight. The responsibility to build the innings was on Rahul Dravid, who was accompanied by Sanjay Bangar. The both carried India to lunch unscathed.

When Dravid went to the pavilion after the first session, then India coach John Wright told him that if he converts that start into a ton, that will the be the highest point in your CV when you retire.

Tendulkar and Ganguly too compiled centuries in the Test, but it was Dravid who weathered the storm, displayed patience and made life easy for others with his brilliant 148.

The icing on the cake was of course the win that followed. India won the match by an innings and 46 runs.

Ajinkya Rahane 103, 2014

India might have dropped Ajinkya Rahane in South Africa, but they would do well to think twice before even thinking to do so again in the upcoming series.

Everyone in the present set up is aware that the only Indian win in England since 2007 has come on the back of a magnificent Rahane century. The pitch seemed so difficult for batsmen that Tendulkar told Rahane after stumps on Day 1, "Mark my words, because of your innings we will win the match."

Rahane's boundary-laden innings rescued India from 145/7 to 295 on a seamer-friendly pitch that also had spongy bounce.

A Lord's century is always special, but a Lord's century in a victory is even better. Rahane has both.

Dilip Vengsarkar 126, 1986

Called the 'Lord of the Lord's', Dilip Vengsarkar loved playing in England. Four of his 17 centuries have come in England; three of them at Lord's. No overseas batsman had ever managed to do that and one of those resulted in India's first victory at the 'Home of Cricket'.

Vengsarkar's elegant 126 gave India the lead against David Gower and Co after Chetan Sharma's five-wicket haul. Kapil's four wickets in the second innings put India in a dominant position and thanks to Vengsarkar, who top scored in the fourth innings, India chased down 136.

Updated Date: Jul 24, 2018







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