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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

India vs England: Top 5 performances by Indian bowlers in England

India’s biggest Test wins in England have always been on the back of strong performances by the bowlers. Here we take a look at 5 of the best displays by an Indian bowler in England.

cricket Updated: Jul 29, 2018 08:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anil Kumble guided India to victory over England at Headingley in 2002.
Anil Kumble guided India to victory over England at Headingley in 2002.(Getty Images)

The T20 and ODI series’ now done and dusted with, the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team are preparing for what is arguably going to be the biggest challenge of their careers when they take on England in a gruelling five-match Test series starting August 1 at Edgbaston.

Recent history is definitely against India, with their last two tours ending in heavy defeats – a 4-0 whitewash in 2011 followed by a 3-1 loss in 2014. In fact, India have travelled to England for 17 Test series and won only three of them.

Despite that, there remains a sense of cautious optimism that India could potentially cause an upset should their bowling unit come to the party. This chain of thought is not without historical significance; almost every time an Indian bowler has done well in England, the result has gone the way of the visitors.

Here we take a look at five of the best bowling performances by Indian bowlers in England.

B Chandrasekhar – 6/38 at The Oval, 1971

This is a spell that is fondly remembered by Indian cricket fans of a certain age with good reason: it gave India both its first-ever Test match and series win in England.

The first two Tests having been drawn, the teams met at The Oval in London for the final Test. Batting first, England scored 355 in their first innings. India, despite some decent knocks from their batsmen, could only muster up 284 in reply, thanks in no small part to England off-spinner Ray Illingworth’s five-wicket haul. His spell was almost a sign of things to come.

B Chandrasekhar was arguably one of the greatest spinners of his generation.
B Chandrasekhar was arguably one of the greatest spinners of his generation. ( Getty Images )

The hosts would have been content to simply bat out the remainder of the match since they had a 71-run lead in hand, but leg-spinner B Chandrasekhar had other ideas. Having been brought on by skipper Ajit Wadekar when he sensed the wicket was slowing down, Chandrasekhar ripped through the England batsmen to dismiss the hosts for just 101.

India managed to score the 173 runs needed to win despite losing both openers cheaply, thus writing a new chapter in the history of Indian cricket.

Anil Kumble – 3/93 and 4/66 at Headingley, 2002

After losing the first Test at Lord’s and drawing the second at Nottingham, India came into the third Test at Leeds in the 2002 tour needing a win to keep any chances of drawing or winning the series alive.

Winning the toss and electing to bat, India rode on massive centuries from Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to post a mammoth 628 in their first innings. In reply, England were dismissed for 273. Kumble got the important wicket of Mark Butcher and helped clean up the tail to end with figures of 3/93.

READ | India vs England: Top 5 Test performances by Indian batsmen in England

The second innings saw England put up some more resistance, with Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart stitching together a 100-run partnership in a bid to save the match. But when Kumble – having also gotten the wicket of Rob Key in the second innings – removed both these batsmen, it was only a matter of time before India wrapped up the win by an innings and 46 runs. Fittingly, it was Kumble who removed Matthew Hoggard to bring the match to a close.

Zaheer Khan – 4 /59 and 5/75 at Nottingham, 2007

A fully-fit Zaheer Khan could trouble the best of batsmen with his swing and that was exactly what he did at Trent Bridge in 2007 in a Test match that would eventually go on to seal another series win for India.

Electing to field after winning the toss, India managed to dismiss England for a paltry 198. Zaheer took the key wickets of Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell and looked in fine form. However, the best was yet to come from him and the reason he was at his lethal best in the second innings were… jelly beans.

It was a special show from Zaheer Khan as India defeated England at Nottingham.
It was a special show from Zaheer Khan as India defeated England at Nottingham. ( AFP )

During his stint at the crease, England players placed jelly beans near the crease, riling up the pacer to the point that he vented his frustration at the English fielders. Running in with a point to prove in the second innings, he once again targeted – and removed – England’s big guns. Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss were removed either side of lunch on Day 4 but Zaheer was not done yet.

He removed Vaughan – admittedly with a little bit of luck when the ball hit his thigh pad and then went on to hit the stumps – before trapping Ian Bell in the same over. He then dismissed Paul Collingwood after the batsman posted a valiant 63 to complete his five-wicket haul that eventually helped India win the match – and the series.

Ishant Sharma – 7/74 at Lords, 2014

India’s first Test win at Lord’s in 28 years was down thanks in no small part to Ishant Sharma’s magnificent spell in the second innings of the match. What made his display even more surprising was that he went wicketless in first innings despite bowling 24 overs.

Having been put in to bat in the first innings, India were dismissed for 295, thanks in no small part to Ajinkya Rahane’s fighting century after India’s top order faltered. However, a magnificent spell from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (more on that in a bit) meant England ended the first innings with only a slender 24-run lead.

READ | India vs Essex: Team India Report Card - How Virat Kohli & Co fared in the warm-up match

Murali Vijay’s 95 and fifties down the order from Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar saw India put up a respectable 342 in reply. Needing 319 to win, England were bounced out of the game by a fired-up Ishant Sharma.

After dismissing Ian Bell cheaply, he then removed Alastair Cook in his next over. But they key moment came in the last ball before lunch. Sharma bowled a short one to Moeen Ali who couldn’t deal with the bounce and gently gloved it to short-leg.

Ishant continued to keep the length short and the move paid dividends. He got the big wickets of Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Joe Root as India romped to a 95-run win to take a 1-0 series lead.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 6-38 at Lord’s, 2014

Before Ishant Sharma’s barrage of short balls in the second innings proved too hot to handle for the English batsmen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar starred with the ball in the first innings with some beautiful swing bowling.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on fire as India registered a fighting victory over England in 2014.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on fire as India registered a fighting victory over England in 2014. ( REUTERS )

After India were bowled out for 295, Bhuvneshwar’s spell ensured the hosts would not end up getting a big first innings lead. He ran through England’s top four of Alastair Cook, Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell, with only Ballance’s well-crafted knock of 110 providing any resistance up the order.

Cook and Robson provided simple catches to MS Dhoni behind the stumps whereas Bell could not deal with a rising delivery and ended up edging one to Ravindra Jadeja in the slips. Ballance chased a ball going down the leg-side but couldn’t connect and Dhoni did the rest.

Bhuvneshwar then accounted for Ben Stokes with a wonderful in-swinger that rattled the stumps before getting Staurt Broad to edge one to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip. He also scored a fighting half century in the second innings before Ishant’s heroics sealed the match.