India vs England 2016: The 5 most memorable Test matches at Wankhede, Mumbai
The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai has been witness to some of India’s historic moments in the game – be it India’s 2011 World Cup triumph or Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test match.
While the World Cup triumph and Dhoni’s match-winning six could be the lasting impressions on the minds of the cricket lovers, the venue has also played host to many a memorable match in the longest format of the game.
The stadium, which is located in close proximity to the sea, is known to give assistance to the fast bowlers in the early stages and progressively favour spinners in the latter half. In the shorter formats, it is a run-making paradise for the batsmen.
As India and England gear up for the 4th Test of the series to be played at the venue, we take a look at the 5 most memorable Test matches played here:
#1 India vs. West Indies, Jan 1975
More than 40 years ago, Wankhede staged its first Test when the erstwhile formidable West Indies visited India for a five-Test tour. The venue at Bombay was hosting the final Test, the series level at 2-2. Besides the birth of the new Test venue, the series had more historical significance attached to it.
The legendary Sir Vivian Richards made his Test debut in the first Test of this series at Bangalore, along with Gordon Greenidge. It was also the last hurrah for the Nawab of Pataudi – the late Mansur Ali Khan - arguably, India's greatest captain ever. The final Test at Bombay was to be his farewell game.
The match was a six-day affair and the West Indian captain Clive Lloyd won the toss and opted to bat. The Windies batted for a little more than two days and piled on a mammoth 604, declaring on the third morning.
Opener Roy Fredericks (104), Alvin Kallicharran (98) and Deryck Murray (91) batted around the skipper who cracked a double century and remained unbeaten at a career-best 242. In reply, India’s Eknath Solkar scored his first Test century as they managed to avoid the follow-on.
Despite all the cricketing heroics, the game was also marred by controversy. On the second day of the Test, play was disrupted due to a crowd riot that was set off by the police attacking a young fan who had invaded the pitch to congratulate Lloyd on reaching his double century. Around ninety minutes of play was lost on the day but the Windies’ request to make up for the time lost was rejected by the Indian Board.
As it panned out eventually, this time was not required as they plundered 205 in about three hours, left India a target of 404 and bowled them out for 202 on the last day.
Recalling the fond memories, Lloyd said, “What sticks out in my memory about that Test even more than our victory and my own score was the finale. We had got back into our dressing room when someone came in and said that crowd was chanting for us to make a farewell appearance in the middle. It was an emotional and unforgettable moment.”
India’s Karsan Ghavri, who also made his Test debut in the series, saw the controversial side and shared the bitter memories in an interview to the Mid-Day.
“I saw it from close quarters. All that lad wanted to do was shake Clive's hand. His appreciation for a great knock was genuine. There was no need to beat him up so badly. This incident caused the riot. Ramji Dharod (a former club cricketer) deserves credit for going to the centre and speaking to the police force and the irate spectators.
“Such people should be hailed in Mumbai cricket. It was a brave gesture."