The Lord's Cricket Ground, widely referred to as the Home of Cricket, is a historic venue in the game of cricket. When cricket fans talk about the Lord's, the first image that immediately pops out of their minds, is a Victorian style pavilion which includes the glorious Long Room, a bar and dressing rooms with the famous Lord's balcony.
The picturesque balcony at Lord's has always held a special place in cricket. It has not changed much over the years, resulting in an album full of wonderful memories traversing through the generations of great players.
The dressing rooms also have Honours Boards to commemorate all the Test centuries scored, five and ten wickets hauls in a Test match. The illustrious list features just nine Indian batsmen as century scorers with many goliaths of Indian batting missing. This points to the fact that Indians have hardly enjoyed batting at the Home of Cricket.
Scoring a century at Lord's in conditions absolutely contrasting to subcontinental ones against the mighty English bowlers who can make that red cherry talk is a tough ask. Out of those nine centuries, I have picked five based on its significance in the match and the situations in which those centuries were scored.
#1 The historic tour of 1986- Dilip Vengsarkar's match-winning knock
Dilip Vengsarkar was India's one of the most consistent No. 3 for over a decade. With close to 7000 runs in Test cricket and 17 Test centuries, Vengsarkar scored a plethora of runs in the late 1970s and most part of 1980s. He was rated as the best batsman in the Coppers and Lybrand rating in 1986-87.
Vengsarkar scored an astonishing six Test centuries against West Indies in the era of tearaway fast bowlers like Holding, Marshal and Roberts.
Vengsarkar was never bogged down by seaming conditions. Three Test centuries at the Lord's is a testimony to the fact that he was a special player. He scored a bucket load of runs on a ground on which Indian batsmen have found tough to score. The first century came in the year 1979 and it resulted in a draw. He again made a century in a losing cause at the venue in the 1982 tour.
Then came India's tour of England 1986 - a tournament etched in the memory of all the Indian cricket fans and the Indian team members. The 2-0 series victory included a win at the Lord's.
Lord's Test, 1986: England scored a respectable 294 in the first innings with the help of GA Gooch's ton. Chetan Sharma scripted India's comeback with a 5-wicket haul. India in the first innings did not get off to a great start. The visitors lost both the openers at the team score of 90.
Mohinder Amarnath and Vengsarkar steadied the ship and stitched a crucial 71-run partnership. While Amarnath got out after scoring a well-made 69, the stalwart of Indian batting line-up, Vengsarkar continued batting and went on to score his third Test ton at Lord's.
He remained not out at 126 as Indians secured an important 47-run lead over England. In the second innings, England was bundled out for just 180. A target of 134 was achieved by India with five wickets in hand.
It was Vengsarkar best innings overseas that lead India to a historic win at Lord's.