India's captains during landmark Tests for the team

Virat Kohli will captain India in their 500th Test against New Zealand from September 22

Ever since making their Test debut in 1932, India have been blessed with some tremendous captains who have taken the team to greater heights. Though the record hasn't been great for all of them, but their contributions were important in shaping up India’s future in the game.

MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly has been the most successful Test captains for India. While Ganguly instilled the belief in his team to win in overseas conditions, Dhoni captained India to several Test wins in home conditions but his overseas record wasn’t particularly great.

With India closing on the 500 Test mark, we bring you the Indian captains who have captained their nation in landmark Tests.

#1 CK Nayudu vs England at Lord’s in 1932 (1st Test)

The first ever Indian Test squad

India played their first ever Test match under the captaincy of CK Nayudu in 1932 against England at Lord’s. After winning the toss and batting first, England got off to the worst possible losing their opening three wickets for a mere 19 runs. Mohammad Nissar was the wrecker in chief for the Indians as the English batsman found it difficult to cope with his pace and swing. Nissar claimed five wickets as England were bowled out for 259 in their first innings.

No Indian batsman could cross fifty as they folded out for a paltry 189 in their first innings, 70 runs adrift of England’s total. England scored 275 before declaring their second innings, setting India an improbable victory target of 346.

The Indian response was far from impressive in the second innings as they were bundled out for 187, handing England a victory by 158 runs.

#2 Polly Umrigar vs Australia at Chennai in 1956 (50th Test)

Polly Umrigar captained India in their 50th Test

After winning the toss and batting first, India could only manage 161 in their first innings as they were bamboozled by Richie Benaud’s leg breaks and googlies. The Australians responded well by scoring 319 in their first innings courtesy a fighting 73 by Ian Johnson. Vinoo Mankad picked up four wickets for India.

158 runs adrift of the Australian total, India faltered in their second innings too, losing wickets at regular intervals. Eventually, they were bowled out for 153 and England won the match by an innings and 5 runs. Certainly not a match to remember.

#3 Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi vs England at Birmingham in 1967 (100th Test)

Nawab of Pataudi was India’s captain during their 100th Test

After winning the toss, England put up a competitive 298 in their first innings with John Murray being the top scorer with 77. BS Chandrasekhar and EAS Prasanna picked up three wickets each for India in the first innings.

The English bowlers ripped apart India’s batting order reducing them to 35/4. There was no way back for the away team as they were eventually bowled out for a paltry 92 in their first innings. England responded with 202 in their second innings asking India to chase down an improbable victory target of 410. Prasanna and Chandrasekhar again were the best bowlers as they picked up 4 and 3 wickets respectively.

The Indians performed better in the second innings but that was not enough for them to save the Test match. Ajit Wadekar scored a fighting 70 as India was bowled out for 277 in their second innings. England won the match by 132 runs.

#4 Bishan Singh Bedi vs England at Chennai in 1977 (150th Test)

John Lever and the gauze strip which caused so much controversy

After winning the toss, England scored a competitive 262 in their first innings riding on half-centuries by Mike Brearly and Tony Greig. Bishan Singh Bedi was the most successful Indian bowler picking up four wickets. The Indians were very lacklustre in their first innings getting bundled out for a meagre 164. John Lever was the wrecker in chief with five wickets.

England declared their innings at 185/9 in their 2nd innings setting India a 283 run victory target in the fourth innings. Chandrasekhar and Prasanna took 5 and 4 wickets respectively. The Indians were literally steamrolled in the second innings and were bowled out for 83. England’s Derek Underwood and Bob Wilis scalped 4 and 3 wickets respectively to give the away side the win.

#5 Sunil Gavaskar vs Pakistan at Lahore in 1982 (200th Test)

Zaheer Abbas scored a brilliant double century

Sunil Gavaskar was the captain in this Test and decided to field having won the toss. The Indians were at the receiving end of a Zaheer Abbas masterclass. The stylish stroke-maker scored a terrific double century as the Pakistanis posted 485 in their first innings.

Courtesy a brilliant century from Mohinder Amarnath and half centuries from Gavaskar and Sandeep Patil, India posted 379 in their 1st innings. The match eventually ended in a draw with the Pakistan scoring 135/1 in the second innings.

#6 Ravi Shastri vs West Indies at Chennai in 1988 (250th Test)

Hirwani had a terrific Test debut finishing with match figures of 16/156

After winning the toss and batting first, India scored 382 in their first innings with Kapil Dev scoring a brilliant century. It was the debut match of Narendra Hirwani where he created history by picking 16 wickets. The young leg-spinner finished with 8/61 as West Indies were bowled out for 184 in their first innings.

Woorkeri Raman scored 83 as the Indians scored 217 in their second innings before declaring. Chasing an improbable victory target of 416, the West Indies batsmen were again bamboozled by debutant Hirwani as he finished with 8/75. West Indies were bowled out for 160 as India won the match by 255 runs.

#7 Sachin Tendulkar vs South Africa at Ahmedabad in 1996 (300th Test)

Srinath was the wrecker in chief against the African side in the second innings

After winning the toss, Sachin Tendulkar decided to bat. India batted poorly in their first essay and could only manage 223. Tendulkar was the top scorer with 42. The bowlers responded for India and restricted South Africa for 244 in their 1st innings. Sunil Joshi was the wrecker in chief with 4 wickets in the first innings.

Even in the second innings, the Indian batsmen faltered as they were bundled out for 190. Chasing 170 to win in the fourth innings, the Proteas were shot out for 105. It was the pace and swing of Javagal Srinath that undid the South African batsmen as he finished with 6/21. He was ably supported by Anil Kumble who chipped in with 3 wickets.

#8 Sourav Ganguly vs Zimbabwe at Nagpur in 2002 (350th Test)

Tendulkar scored a brilliant 176

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Zimbabwe could only manage 287 in their 1st innings. Anil Kumble was the led the charge with 4 wickets in the first innings for India. Courtesy centuries from SS Das, Sachin Tendulkar and Sanjay Bangar India responded in a spanking fashion scoring 570/7 in their first innings before the declaration.

It was the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble who tore apart Zimbabwe in their second innings taking 4 and 5 wickets respectively. India won the match by an innings and 101 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two match series.

#9 Rahul Dravid vs West Indies at Kingston in 2006 (400th Test)

Team India celebrate their series victory in West Indies

It was the final Test of the four-match series. With the series level at 0-0, Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to bat. The Caribbean bowlers put up an inspired show in a bowling paradise and skittled out India for 200 in their first innings.

Harbhajan Singh produced a sensational spell picking up 5/13 in the first innings ensuring the Indians bundled out West Indies for 103. India managed to score 171 in their second essay with Rahul Dravid scoring 68.

Chasing 269 for victory, the Windies batsmen had no answer to Kumble’s deception and guile. The leg spinner finished with 6/78 as the Men in Blue won the match by 49 runs to hand India a memorable series victory.

#10 MS Dhoni vs West Indies at Bridgetown in 2011 (450th Test)

Ishant Sharma celebrates with his teammates after dismissing a Windies batsman

West Indies won the toss and asked India to bat. Half-centuries from VVS Laxman and Suresh Raina resurrected their innings from 35/4 and were eventually bowled out for 201. Ishant Sharma was simply superb and his hostile spell shook the West Indies top order. The lanky fast bowler finished with 6/55 as West Indies were bowled out for 190.

Laxman scored his second half-century of the Test as India managed 269 in their second essay. It was again Ishant Sharma who tormented the Windies batsmen in the second innings. The match eventually ended in a draw with the West Indies score at 202/7.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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