Test Cricket: Team India's 5 monumental away series victories

Sanchit Grover

Test cricket is often labelled as the purest form of cricket. In spite of the emergence of t20’s and ever-growing fondness for ODI cricket, test cricket has its own place in the heart of every fan. There is a uniqueness about test cricket which makes it so important. A test match is a gruelling affair needing sheer persistence to win. It is the level of a cricket game that makes test matches special.

One difference that makes test cricket apart from everything else is the home and away scenario. Nowadays ODIs and t20s are not much-impacted by home or away conditions whereas test cricket still is highly influenced. Over the course of 5 days, a cricketer goes through a lot and behaves likewise. If history is to go by then it is evident that teams find it tough to win a test series away from home.

India have never won a series in Australia and South Africa, two major test playing nations- something unbelievable but yet true. An away win is remembered forever and India have been in the winning corner of one in quite a few occasions. Some series are embedded in the memory of fans around the globe and that is our main topic of concern.

Indian have accomplished many feats in their history when test cricket is the focal point.

Here are India's five most notable away wins.

Pakistan, 2003-04

Indian batsman Virender Sehwag (R) hits
Indian batsman Virender Sehwag (R) hits

What better way to start than the greatest cricket rivalry of all time. India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads for more than 60 years now and whenever these two giants collide, fireworks are expected. With the nations often providing memorable battles on the field, it is rightly said that when India and Pakistan play each other the world stops.

One such memorable instance was the action-packed tour of India in Pakistan. The three match test series is fondly remembered for Virender Sehwag's triple century in the opening match in Multan. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar contributed for a record-breaking partnership of 336 before Sehwag was dismissed after scoring India's highest individual best total to that date -309.

With a goliath total of 675, India overpowered Pakistan as the hosts ended up losing the match by an innings and 52 runs.

Pakistan did get one back in Lahore as they defeated India by 9 wickets to level the series 1-1. With the series tied at 1-1, their final match in Rawalpindi was expected to be a hot-headed one and it was exactly what the fans got.

Pakistan batted first and were all out for a meagre 224 in the first innings. The Indians came out relying on Sehwag's terrific form but the Sultan of Multan failed to deliver as he was dismissed on the very first ball for a golden duck. Out came India's number 3 Rahul Dravid, who played probably the best knock of his career as India posted a total of 600 courtesy of David's 270.

Pakistan had no reply to India as they bundled were out yet again and India won the match by an innings and 131 runs. This was the last time India won in Pakistan. With the political tensions between the two neighbouring nations, an India tour of Pakistan is the last thing on anyone’s expectation list any time soon.

New Zealand, 2008-09

India v New Zealand: 2nd Test - Day Four
India v New Zealand: 2nd Test - Day Four

Not many people would have expected this win in this list but India's victory in New Zealand is remembered for team India's sheer brilliance and absolute resilience against a tough kiwi side. Travelling to New Zealand has never been easy as the Kiwis are hard to beat at home.

MS Dhoni led team India against New Zealand on their own turf for a three-match test series in 2008. The Indian side were riding high on their ODI success against the Kiwis and carried their excellent form into the tests as well. The visitors were untroubled in the first test as a Sachin Tendulkar special was in store for the opening fixture. The master blaster slammed a knock of 160 to help India post in excess of 500 in their 1st innings. New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori scored a sensational ton in reply but his efforts were not enough to save his side from following on. New Zealand batted again and were bundled out for 279 in the 2nd innings to set India a target of just 30 runs. The Indians won by 10 wickets and took a 1-0 lead in the series.

The New Zealand side started in a devastating manner in Napier for the second test as Jesse Ryder scored 201 to help his team post a total of 619. The fortunes had changed as it was team India who were asked to follow on after being bowled out for 305 in the first innings. But the visitors managed to play out two entire days to draw the second match courtesy of Gautam Gambhir's ton.

With the final match being played in Wellington, both teams had everything to play for. India batting first, and put up a decent total of 379 to have a strong foot in the match. The Kiwis never threatened the Indian side as the match went into the last day with the possibility of an Indian win but a Ross Taylor century prevented a loss for the hosts as the matched ended in a draw. The series was done and dusted as India flew back as the winners of test series.

England, 2007

Cricket - npower Third Test - England v India - Day Five - The Brit Oval
Third Test - England v India - Day Five - The Brit Oval

A star-studded team India led by Rahul Dravid went to England in a bid to win a test series on English soil after more than 20 years without one. The English side with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss were a daunting prospect at home but the Indian team managed to beat the hosts and claim their first test series win on English soil in 20 years.

Ove the course of the series both the teams put on an equal fight with individuals shining. The test at Lord's was drawn thanks to English weather and the former Indian captain MS Dhoni. England were riding high on Pietersen's 2nd innings century as India were set up a target of 380. With the Indian batsmen falling to English bowling lineup, Dhoni stood out there like a warrior. His unbeaten 76 and some luck proved to be enough as the game ended in a draw.

The 2nd match of the 3-match series was played at Trent Bridge. England batted first and were bundled out for an unimpressive total of 198. India in reply came out all guns blazing as the visitors put up a hefty 481 to have a big lead over the host.

England did put up a better show in the 2nd innings but Michael Vaughan's century went in vain as India were asked to chase just 73 for the victory, and they obliged and took a well-deserved lead in the Pataudi trophy.

The final test being played at the Oval had a surprise centurion in the name of Anil Kumble as the visitors put up a mammoth 1st innings total of 664 and potentially put the game to bed. England managed to save some face by avoiding a defeat, but India were celebrating their first series win in England in more than 20 years.

The Pataudi trophy went to India as the memorable series came to an end.

West Indies,1970-71

India v West Indies  -  Champions Trophy
India v West Indies

Before 1970 India and the West Indies had played 5 test series between them, with the latter winning all 5. Not much was expected of India's tour of West Indies in 1970 but little was known a of young debutant going by the name of Sunil Gavaskar.

The Mumbai born dashing batsman took on the West Indies bowling attack like he had been playing them for ages. Scoring 774 runs over the course of the 5 test matches, Gavaskar top scored on either side and helped India win their first ever series against west indies.

India and West Indies went toe to toe in each and every match. While the first match ended in a draw, the Indian side led by Ajit Wadekar won by 7 wickets in the Port of Spain, to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The two giants of international cricket had close battles in the remaining matches but nothing could separate them as India's victory in the second match proved to be the deciding factor of the series.

Garry Sobers, who many consider as one of the greatest players of all time, was the star man of his side, but even the skipper couldn't prevent India from winning their first series against West Indies.

To this date people credit Gavaskar for the success in 1970.

England, 1986

England v India, 2nd  Test, Headingley, Jun 86
England v India, 2nd Test, Headingley, Jun 86

Probably the greatest overseas victory for team India was in 1986 when Kapil Dev led his Indian side to victory on English soil. A dynamic England team skippered by David Gower had the likes of Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and Phil Edwards in his side for the match at Lords.

England started the game by batting first, and scored 294 courtesy of a brilliant century by opener Gooch. India came out with a mission to surpass England's total and give themselves a lead, and they did just that. Dilip Vengsarkar scored a brilliant century to help India post 341 and take a slight lead over their English rivals. Then on in, it was the Kapil Dev show as his bowling spell reduced England to 180 all out as India were set a modest target of 135. India got the total comfortably to win the match by 5 wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The next match had some changes in captaincy as Mike Gatting took over from David Gower for the remainder of the series. The leadership might have changed but the fortunes of English cricket didn’t as they lost again and this time even more embarrassingly, as India won the series with their second victory. Dilip Vengsarkar was awarded the man of the match trophy for his 2nd innings century at Leeds as India won the match by 279 runs.

England did put up a good show in the final test but the resilient Indian side were equally impressive as the match ended in a draw. India had won the series 2-0 and the fans were delighted.

India’s current coach Ravi Shastri was named the man of the series for India.

Edited by Ben Winfield


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