The ongoing match between India and England has been a bit of a massive surprise. The first and obvious reason is the quality of the pitch – good bounce, decent pace, some turn, but most importantly, batsman-friendly, if they are willing to grind it out. It is what you would call, a decent Test match pitch that has something in it for everyone.
India has conceded a massive first innings total of 537 with three English batsmen scoring tons. It is hard for a team to bat in the second innings and overtake mammoth totals. The scoreboard pressure is always against you and you are always expecting that collapse.
Secondly, the batting conditions are not exactly ideal as the first innings has used up almost two days. Day 3 and Day 4 offer tougher pitch conditions, not to mention the fact that the team batting second is tired after nearly two days on the field.
That is what makes India’s present effort, very impressive. India does have some mammoth second innings totals – 726/9 declared and 676/7 against Sri Lanka at Mumbai and Kanpur respectively, to gain leads of 333 and 256 and, 657/7 declared and 643/5 declared against Australia and South Africa respectively at Kolkata.
However, overtaking a 400-plus first innings total is never easy and it hasn’t been done too many times by India in India. We have not exactly taken the highest totals, rather the more impactful ones. Here, are 5 such occasions.
#1 627 vs South Africa, Chennai, 2008
The first of a three-match series didn’t start well for India as South Africa piled on the agony scoring 540, thanks to a score of 159 from Hashim Amla. South Africa scored at a good clip getting those runs in just 152.5 overs.
In reply, India posted a mammoth total of 627. That was largely because of a 213-run opening partnership between Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer. Sehwag went on to score 319 in just 304 balls with 42 fours and 5 sixes. He added a humongous 268 runs with Rahul Dravid who scored a century too. India managed a lead of 87 runs and the match eventually ended in a draw.
India lost the second Test but came back to win the third and draw the series. They had Sehwag to thank for saving the first Test.