India and England share a long history in Tests. From the first tour made by Independent India in 1952 under the leadership of Vijay Hazare to the forgettable 2014 series under MS Dhoni, India's Test matches against England in England have always tended to bring about excitement. The lush green fields in English stadiums, along with the pronounced swing of the Duke cricket ball have made for some excellent encounters over the years.
In the age of T20, a Test series between England and India still manages to offer a great spectacle. More importantly, they also offer a more even contest between bat and ball. The often overcast English conditions, the grass on the pitches, and the seam of the ball ensure that the bowlers are not always cannon-fodder.
As India begin their latest Test series in England on Wednesday (August 1), we look at the most nostalgic occasions in India's test matches in England over the years. From Vengsarkar's vintage brilliance to the last of Rahul's rearguards, the tour of England has always been one to behold for Indian cricket fans.
#1. 2011: The last of Rahul’s rearguards and the beginning of the end for Sachin
India's tour of England in 2011 was expected to be an evenly contested series between the number one and number two Test teams in the world at that time. However, the series quickly turned into a nightmare for India as they were whitewashed 4-0. MS Dhoni’s team would later go on to lose in Australia by the same margin as they spectacularly relinquished their status as the number one team in the world.
The Test series in England in 2011 was more a case of England vs Dravid as India’s premier Test batsman scored 3 centuries amidst the carnage around him and top scoring for India with 461 runs. To put it into context, the next best Indian batsman was Sachin Tendulkar with 273 and an average of 34.
The series marked the beginning of the end of Sachin Tendulkar’s stellar career. It started with the nation praying for Sachin’s 100th hundred and ended with a clarity - India could no longer rely on Sachin in Test matches against premier opposition abroad. The most poignant moment of the series came with the standing ovation given to Tendulkar in the first Test at Lord’s in what was his last appearance at the storied venue.