Remembering India's first Test win in each of the overseas test-playing nations
#3. England, 1971
A few months after their historic series win in West Indies, India travelled to England for a three-match series. India’s last two series against England in 1959 and 1967 had both ended in whitewashes but this time, India were more confident.
The first Test at Lord’s had a controversial incident when Sunil Gavaskar collided with England bowler John Snow, losing his bat in the process. Snow was reported to have tossed back the bat to Gavaskar whereas the batsman himself admitted in 2000 that the bowler simply handed him the bat.
However, the match was drawn due to rain intervening when India needed 38 runs to win with two wickets left. However, it ended India’s 8-match losing streak against England. The second Test at Old Trafford was also drawn and now, all eyes were on the final Test at the Kennington Oval.
Thanks to scores of 90, 82, and 81 from Allan Knott, John Jameson, and Richard Hutton, England scored 355 in their first innings. In reply, India lost Gavaskar early who was bowled by John Snow but not before having his chain and medallion zipped out by a bouncer from the 5ft 11 bowler.
Fifties from Farookh Engineer and Dilip Sardesai assisted by captain Ajit Wadekar’s 48 and Eknath Solkar’s 44 could take India to only 284, thanks to Wadekar’s opposite number Ray Illingworth’s spell of 5/70.
However, India responded brilliantly in the second innings with Bhagwat Chandrasekhar picking up 6 wickets as England were skittled for 101, giving India a target of 173 to win. India lost Gavaskar and Mankad early but Wadekar and Sardesai brought back stability to the Indian innings by scoring 45 and 40 respectively. Gundappa Viswanath and Farookh Engineer added 33 and 28 respectively to steer India to victory by 4 wickets, thus clinching a hat-trick of overseas series wins.
#4. Australia, 1977-78
After being trounced by England 3-1 at home, India would be travelling to Australia to play a five-match series against the Bobby Simpson led team. The first Test at Brisbane was a close contest with Australia edging out India by 16 runs. The second Test at Perth was another thrilling contest with Australia once again prevailing, this time by two wickets, thus extending their winning streak against India at home to 9 Tests.
The third Test was held in Melbourne from 30 December- 4 January and Indian skipper Bishan Singh Bedi decided to bat first after winning the toss. India lost openers Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan for ducks before Mohinder Amarnath and Gundappa Viswanath added 105 for the third wicket. Amarnath scored 72 while Viswanath scored 59.
The middle order batsmen made some contributions but they could not stay for long. The lower order batsmen got out quickly and India’s innings ended at 256 with Wayne Clark and Jeff Thomson picking up three and four wickets respectively.
In reply, Australia also lost two early wickets thanks to Karsan Ghavri but Gary Cosier and Craig Serjeant added 104 runs for the third wicket to keep the hosts in a good position. At this stage, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar came in and broke the partnership by dismissing Cosier. This wicket triggered a collapse in the Australian batting as they lost their remaining seven wickets for only 89 runs with Chandrasekhar doing most of the damage as he took 6 wickets for only 52 runs.
In the second innings, Sunil Gavaskar’s 118 assisted by Gundappa Viswanath’s 54 and chippings from Mohinder Amarnath and Ashok Mankad took India to 343, thus giving Australia a target of 387 to chase in order to seal the series. However, once again the Chandrasekhar show came into action with another spell of 6/52 from the Mysore spinner as Australia were skittled for 164 and India won the match by 222 runs, thus registering their first ever victory in Australia.