Reliving India's first test match against England in 1932
“I am satisfied that we played aggressive cricket. Although, we were defeated, but we were not humiliated. I am hopeful that history will remember this match with pride and people will realise that we had given our everything. We had gone with the aim of winning and while playing at Lord’s we did not think about any other result”.
Above is an excerpt from India’s first test captain Col. CK Nayudu’s diary about India’s test debut as mentioned in his biography ‘A Colonel to Lead’. Well, our captain was right. 86 years since that match, we do recall that match with pride.
The Hindu Bradman in Form at Lord’s
The captain himself had been in tremendous form in the first-class matches leading up to the only test match on that tour to England in 1932. Such was his form that after his century at Lord’s against the MCC, the ‘The Star’s’ wrote, ‘The Hindu Bradman in Form at Lord’s’. Now not many would know that this Hindu Bradman, was not the first choice captain of the Indian team for the tour. It was only because the original captain Maharaja of Porbandar was sensible enough to acknowledge his cricketing limitations and had asked CK (as Col. CK Nayudu was called) to lead the Indian team.
Nissar wreaks havoc
The test match was a three-day affair as this is what was offered to the new entrants of test cricket in those days. Post England decided to bat first after winning the toss, the Indians had a dream start. The originators of the gentleman’s game were reduced to three down for only 19 runs by the debutants. But they recovered scoring 259 runs, largely due to skipper Douglas Jardine’s innings of 79 runs and wicket-keeper Les Ames who scored 65 runs. For the Indians, the star of the bowling with 5 wickets was paceman Mohammad Nissar, who had also accounted for the English openers.
Jardine comes to England’s rescue for the second time in the match
In response, the Indians were doing fairly well until they lost their skipper CK for 40 runs at the score of 139 runs. CK ended up being India’s top scorer in the first innings as India lost their last six wickets for 50 runs to be bowled out for only 189 runs. England’s second innings followed the trend of the first innings as yet again the Indian pace trio of Mohammad Nissar, Amar Singh and Jahangir Khan found the English batsmen wanting. For the second time in the match, Jardine came to the rescue scoring an unbeaten 85 runs. He declared with the team’s score at 275 runs for 8 wickets, thus giving the Indians a challenging target of 346 runs.
India’s pursuit of winning their first test match began poorly in the second innings. They were reeling at 108 runs for the loss of seven wickets and injuries to CK, Nazir Ali & Phiroze Palia did not help their cause. Finally, the Indians could only make 187 runs before getting bowled out. This total was also possible due to a late flourish by Amar Singh who top scored with 51 runs.
“The result of the match suggests an easy victory. As a fact, England suffered moments of severe stress”
Thus, India lost the match by a huge margin of 158 runs. But given the fact that this was India’s first test match, their performance was more than respectable. They had their moments in the match, which unfortunately they failed to capitalise on. The British media did acknowledge India’s fight and the ‘Manchester Guardian’ had written, “The result of the match suggests an easy victory. As a fact, England suffered moments of severe stress. They had to go through an amount of labor and anxiety not at all represented in the score sheet’s statistics”.
A few years later, impressed by India’s progress, Jardine had said that one day India will be challenging other countries on equal terms. And today, India is one of the top teams in the game of cricket across different formats.