By News Team
27th January 2021
England began their mammoth Test year with an impressive 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka, mostly thanks to a pair of picture book Joe Root innings.
Root now takes his troops to India next week for a four-match series against the World’s number two ranked Test side, fresh from their own impressive series win in Australia.
India has far from been a happy hunting ground for English touring sides down the years, but victories there are as coveted as any other England wins. With this in mind, we’ve reviewed some of the most impressive England performances on Indian soil from down the years.
Gatting and Fowler lead England to historic win – January 1985, Chennai
David Gower’s troops had given a solid display in the series before the fourth Test match in 1985 – bouncing back from defeat in the opening game to win the second Test, before drawing the third.
With two Tests to play, England knew victory in Chennai would present them with a golden opportunity to fly home with a third consecutive series win in India. They started perfectly, dismissing the star-powered Indian top order cheaply. Mohinder Amarnath presented the only real resistance, as six wickets for Neil Foster helped bowl the home side out for just 272 in their first innings.
England’s opening pair – Graeme Fowler and Tim Robinson – settled the nerves with a brilliant opening stand of 178 before Robinson’s dismissal brought Mike Gatting to the crease. What followed was arguably England’s greatest partnership, as the duo defied the bowler friendly conditions to add 241 for the second wicket.
Fowler was eventually dismissed for a mammoth 207, but Gatting would power on, himself finishing with a double-hundred off an uncharacteristically brisk 307 balls. With help from the middle order, the tourists posted a first innings 652/7 declared.
The Indians did what they could to force a draw, but England knocked off the 35 runs required in their second innings with ease, winning the match by nine wickets and going on to clinch the series 2-1.
Flintoff fires England level – March 2006, Mumbai
At this stage, England hadn’t won a Test match in India, let alone a series, in over two decades, but much was hoped of from their famous Ashes-winning side’s trip there in 2006. Despite heading into the third and final Test 1-0 down in the series, a win in the final game would at least ensure the travelling party could return home with some pride.
Andrew Strauss set the tone with a delightful first innings hundred, with Owais Shah and newly-appointed captain Andrew Flintoff pitching in with fifties – the tourists posted 400 in their first batting effort.
Four wickets from a young James Anderson helped give England a crucial 121-run lead after the first innings, before Flintoff’s second fifty of the match dragged England from 73-4 to 191 all-out. India would need 312 to win the Test and the series.
Captain Flintoff took over, with the crucial wickets off Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, with Shaun Udal also chipping in with four wickets. India never looked like getting close to their target and were dismissed for just 100, as England sealed a 212-run victory that had been a long time coming.
Pietersen sparkles – November 2012, Mumbai
With England trailing 1-0 going into the second Test of the four-match series in 2012, the pressure was firmly on Alastair Cook’s side to respond in Mumbai. Having been dismissed for just 191 in the first innings of the first Test in Ahmedabad, the tourists knew the weight of first innings runs would be vital.
With India posting 327 in their first innings, the game was well poised when the mercurial Kevin Pietersen joined Captain Cook at the crease with the score at 68-2. Only recently ‘reintegrated’ into the squad following a series of off-field instances, Pietersen would take the game by the scruff of the neck, reminding the world of his class in the process.
He put on 206 with Cook for the third wicket, taking his team to within touching distance of first innings parity, before letting loose on the Indian attack. His first 50 came off just 62 balls, as he played the spinners with expertise and flair, before continuing his counter-attack on day three.
The highlight though, the shot that exemplified KP’s brilliance better than perhaps any other in his career, was a nonchalant drive over extra cover as he dispatched a length ball from Pragyan Ojha into the stands. He finished with 186 off 233 balls in an innings which included 24 boundaries. Wisden named it the third greatest innings of the decade, and it would provide England with enough of a lead to win the second Test and go on to win their first series in India since 1985.