India vs England - Some epic encounters
There are many rivalries in the history of Cricket starting from the legendary Ashes to the closely fought India Pakistan series. Among all those feuds in international Cricket, the series between India and England has also gained prominence over the years. There have been many interesting encounters between the two teams, few livewire games enthralling the audience time and again. I’m going to list few of those epic encounters, to take a walk down the memory lane before the start of an all important series :
Yuvraj 6 6 6 6 6 6
The date was 19th September 2007. Having had an altercation with Flintoff, Yuvi came back with a vengeance and thrashed Broad, who was then a rookie bowler, for six sixers, which is a still standing record in the shortest format. Each six was well over the boundary and the last one was so huge, it went out of the ground. This day, India won the famous match against a strong England team due to Yuvraj’s heroics. Yuvraj, on that day, was the fastest 50 run scorer in the whole of International Cricketing history. He got to 50 in just 12 balls which is remembered by every Indian Cricket fan till today.
Kaif and Yuvraj – “The rookie heroes”
The Indian team which toured England had a good test series, drawing it 1-1 in tough alien conditions. The ODI series came next which was a tri-series. The finals was contested between these two teams. England batted first and scored a mammoth 325-5, thanks to tons from Nasser Hussain and Marcus Trescothick. India seemed down and out at one stage while chasing, having lost half their side for less than 150 runs. England seemed like winning the match at that point when Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif joined hands together to notch up a massive partnership of 121, with Yuvraj scoring 69 and Kaif scoring 87 not out to seal the match in India’s favour. It was one of India’s famous victory with then captain Sourav Ganguly removing his shirt and waving it as a part of the celebrations. It was an iconic moment for Indian Cricket.
Yuvraj Singh 138 and India 5-0 England
The first match of the seven match ODI series was a cracker. The ODI, happening in Rajkot, was an epic match for the Indians. Yuvraj was speculated to be injured and since he was out of form, many people thought he won’t be in the playing eleven. But Yuvraj surprised one and all by coming on to bat with a lower back support. The stage was set for a Yuvraj epic by the openers Gambhir and Sehwag. Both of them scored half centuries and gave India a blazing start. Yuvraj came in and played his strokes. He seemed to be in pain and took short breaks. But once he got settled, he came out all guns blazing, attacking bowlers and scoring runs all over the park. He got 138 of 78, a whirlwind knock which sealed the match for India. India got 387 in this match, which is their highest score against England in ODI’s. India managed yet another feat when they white washed England 5-0 in the very same series.
India chasing 387
It was the first match of the two match test series between India and England in Chennai. India allowed England to take an early lead thanks to twin tons from Andrew Strauss. England declared with a lead of 386 runs with only 4 sessions of play remaining. India though, didn’t give up. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir gave a solid start putting up a 100 run partnership between them to keep things going. From then on, it was the little master and “England destroyer” Yuvraj who took the mantle and helped India win the match, which was almost decided to be a draw. Sachin scored 103 not out while Yuvraj scored 85 not out.
Strauss – Sachin Magic
India and England met in another epic encounter in the group stages of the World Cup. Batting first, India scored a mammoth 338 runs thanks to a brilliant ton (120) from the little master and fifties from Gambhir and Yuvraj. England, though, came back and fought hard. They were at one point looking good to win the match when Zaheer Khan got two breakthroughs, removing both Andrew Strauss who compiled an almost match winning 158 and Ian Bell (69). From then on, the match looked like it might end up in anybody’s favour. All the three results were possible before the last over. And fittingly, the game was a tie.
India’s disaster tour of England 2011
India, after successfully winning the series in West Indies, traveled to England to protect their no.1 status in tests. They failed miserably though, losing the test series 4-0. The English bowlers were precise and merciless as they snared a bagful of wickets each. The Indian batsmen barring Dravid seemed clueless against the marauding Englishmen. Cook and Pietersen got two breath taking double centuries, which was one of the highlights of this entire test series. Bell, Morgan, Prior all got hundreds of their own, making use of the poor Indian bowling and made mince-meat of them. The only consolation was the three centuries that Dravid hit in the series.
Adding salt to the injuries were the whitewashes in the ODI series and the lone T20 that followed. England found some new heroes in Jonny Bairstow and Steven Finn who were the main architects of the victories.
“The Payback Series”2011
England came to India in October for a five match ODI series. This was billed as the revenge series for the sound thrashing that India received at the hands of England earlier that year. India were simply unstoppable winning all the ODI’s, and thereby whitewashing the English for a second consecutive time. Virat Kohli played some classic cricket supported ably by Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja and the others. England’s only consolation was the emergence of Steven Finn as the premium fast bowler for them. Ashwin was among the wickets deceiving the batsman with his flight and picked up a bagful of wickets, and played a vital role with the bat too. Overall, as they say “Revenge was served”!
The Five “Six” reply
The man called Dmitri Mascarenhas made waves when he carted Yuvraj Singh for five 6′s in the last over of a ODI match on 5 Sept 2007. Yuvraj’s six 6′s are rumored to be in reply to the five hit against him by this man. Revenge or not, such shots are always a treat to watch!
England in a spin (World T20, 2012)
India and England played a group match in the World T20 2012 in Colombo. India, batting first, made 170 runs in their quota of 20 overs, riding on a half century from the talented Rohit Sharma. England, in reply, were bundled out for a paltry 80 runs unable to tackle the Indian spinners. It was a complete bashing of the England team who struggled to make their foot move in hot and humid conditions.
Uthappa to the Rescue
It was the sixth ODI of the seven match Natwest series in England. India were trailing 2-3 to England and were on the verge of losing the series after England, batting first, made a mammoth 316 runs riding on the century from Owais Shah and contributions from Pietersen,Wright and Bell. India, in reply, got off to a steady start with Ganguly (53), Sachin (94) and Gambhir (47) all playing handy knocks. But things started to fall apart after the dismissal of Sachin. India lost some quick wickets and were in deep trouble when Uthappa and Dhoni joined hands to take the game away from England. Dhoni got out after setting the match with India need 30 odd runs to win.Uthappa kept a cool head and got India through the finish line with the help of some audacious scoops and slogs.It is one of the most intense ODI’s ever played.
On the upcoming series
With the arrival of the England for the 4 test series, things are going to be even more interesting. Few episodes in the above saga can even be altered and new heroes are waiting to take birth. It is going to be an acid test for the English team who are susceptible against quality spin bowling and it remains to be seen whether they can conquer it. On the other hand, Indian team is facing inside politics and lobbying and this might be the last series as captain for MS Dhoni if he fails to deliver the cup. The Indian openers who have been quite lacklustre in the recent past have got their own points to prove. Meanwhile Cook is captaining the test team for the first time and it is going to be tricky for him to handle the seniors in his side. Added to that, Swann has his own family problems. It is to be seen whether he can put all that aside and concentrate on the matches.
All in all, this series has got all the right ingredients to be a thriller but India with the home advantage should bag the series without any struggles. But one would be a fool to take the English team lightly and India would do well to plan well and defeat them.