August 1 will see the beginning of the 5-Test series between England and India. It will be a chance for India to redeem some face after two disastrous tours in the past where they lost 0-4 in 2011 and 1-3 in 2014. England will be on a high after winning the ODI series 2-1.
England has always been a happy hunting ground for the Indian batsmen since the start. India played their first Test ever in 1932 against England and registered their first series win in 1971 when they won the 3-match series 1-0. Indian batsmen have been very good in England, scoring runs at will.
The first Indian to score a century outside India and in England was Mushtaq Ali, who scored a brilliant 112 at Old Trafford in Manchester. Keeping that in mind, Team COC has chosen the 5 best centuries by Indian batsmen in Test cricket in England. These centuries have their own importance and either helped India win or put Indian batting on the map.
Check out the top 5 Test centuries by Indian batsmen on England soil
VINOO MANKAD – 184 at Lord’s, 1952
Many people of today’s time have heard the word Mankad in just one form, it is a type of dismissal popularized by one of the greatest Indian players to ever wear the whites, Vinoo Mankad. Mankad earned this fame by running out Australian opener Bill Brown who would back down too far as a non-striker despite being warned during the 1947-48 tour.
However, many forget that Mulvantrai ‘Vinoo’ Himmatlal Mankad was also a brilliant all-rounder who played 44 Tests for India from 1946-1959 scoring 2109 runs and taking 162 wickets, with 5 centuries and eight 5 wicket hauls in his career.
His best Test against England came at Lord’s in 1952, which was dubbed ‘Mankad v England’ by a London newspaper. Mankad scored 72 and 184 in the two innings that India played. He also sent down 97 overs to pick 5/231 in the match.
Mankad’s 184 was called a gem of an innings by the great Vijay Hazare, who was the Indian captain on that tour. Hazare said that no English bowler posed any danger to Mankad and he made the likes of Bedser, Laker, Trueman, and others look pale, while wickets fell at the other end.
SUNIL GAVASKAR – 221 at Kennington Oval, 1979
Sunil Gavaskar is the only batsman to score double centuries in all the four innings in Test cricket. Regarded as one of the greatest openers of all time, Gavaskar’s only double hundred in the fourth innings came in the 4th Test at the Kennington Oval, London on the 1979 tour.
England batted first and scored 305 with Graham Gooch top scoring with 79. India replied with a paltry 202 with Gundappa Vishwanath top scoring with 62. Geoffrey Boycott hit 125 in England’s second innings to take them to 334/8d and put a target of 438 runs in front of India.
India decided to go after the target and the lynchpin of the chase was Gavaskar, who put on 213 runs for the opening with Chetan Chauhan (80). On the fifth and final day, India required 362 at around a run a minute and Gavaskar added 153 with Dilip Vengsarkar (52). However, England chipped in with wickets at regular intervals thanks to Peter Willey and Ian Botham.
Seeing that wickets were falling at the other end, Gavaskar moved up a gear and took India to the cusp of victory. Gavaskar scored 221 in 443 balls with 21 fours and was dismissed by Botham, caught by Gower. After his wicket, India shut shop and ended the innings on 429/8, drawing the match just 9 runs short of what would have been a tremendous victory.
Sunil Gavaskar’s innings showed the world that Indian batting could hold their own in the seaming and swinging conditions of England with ease and even dominate the mighty England team in their own backyard.
RAHUL DRAVID- 148 at Headingley, 2002
One of the most dominating Indian performances in Test cricket against England in England ever came at Leeds, Headingley, as India took on England in the 3rd Test of the 2002 tour. India had come into the Test 1-0 and needed to win the Test to stay alive in the series.
On a typical pitch at Leeds, Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly won the toss and chose to bat first and his decision couldn’t have been more correct. Though India lost Sehwag to Hoggard for 8 runs, Sanjay Bangar (68) and Rahul Dravid (148) added 170 runs for the second wicket.
Dravid was in brilliant form throughout his innings, adding 150 with Sachin Tendulkar (193) for the third wicket before being dismissed. Dravid’s innings had 23 fours in 307 balls and he dictated the terms to England bowling and they had no answer to his batting. He lost his wicket going for quick runs, else it would have been a long day at work for England bowlers.
Sachin along with Ganguly (128) slammed England bowlers to 628/8d. Then Anil Kumble picked 7 wickets in the match and with help from Harbhajan Singh, routed England for 273 and 308 (f/o) to win the match by an innings and 46 runs.
AJINKYA RAHANE- 103 at Lord’s, 2014
India came into the 2014 England tour for a five-Test series after a long time. With the first Test drawn, India came to Lord’s, a venue where they didn’t have a good record and had conceded 333 and 123 to Graham Gooch in 1990.
India batted first after losing the toss and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. However, Ajinkya Rahane found some form and kept going on. He kept adding crucial runs with everyone until he found an able partner in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with whom he added 90 runs for the 8th wicket. Rahane reached a sublime ton off 153 balls with 15 fours and a six and got his named etched on the Lord’s honors board.
India ended up making 295 runs. Gary Balance’s 110 took England to 319 in their first innings with Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting 6/82 on his Lord’s debut.
India did much better in their second innings thanks to 95 from M Vijay and a quickfire 68 from Ravindra Jadeja, taking them to 342. England never looked in the game once MS Dhoni asked Ishant Sharma to bounce the English batsmen out and Sharma’s 7/74 dismissed England for 223, chasing 319 runs and won the match by 95 runs.
Though Rahane didn’t win the Man of the match for his 103, the importance of his innings is not lost on any Indian cricket fan and having his name on the honor’s board is something many stalwarts of cricket haven’t managed to achieve.
SACHIN TENDULKAR – 119* at Old Trafford, 1990
Sachin Tendulkar was on his third overseas tour since his debut against Pakistan in Pakistan and then touring New Zealand, where he missed out on becoming the youngest ever to score a Test century, making 88.
India came into the second Test at Manchester, after having being decimated at Lord’s thanks to Gooch’s 333 and 123, despite Kapil Dev’s four sixes in four balls.
This match too, India looked in trouble as Gooch (116) scored his third successive century and added 225 with Michael Atherton, who made 131. Robin Smith rubbed salt in wounds with a sublime 121* as England scored 519. Indian opening pair disappointed again, but Sanjay Manjrekar scored 93 and captain Mohammad Azharuddin picked up from where he left at Lord’s and smashed 179 off 243 balls with 21 fours and 1 six. Sachin Tendulkar scored 68 runs as India put up a formidable 432 runs.
Allan Lamb scored a sublime 109 as England declared on 320/4 and put up a target of 408 to win for India.
Manjrekar scored his second fifty of the match after openers failed once again and Azhar fell for 11. All looked lost, as Sachin Tendulkar and Manoj Prabhakar came together for the rescue act. Prabhakar scored 67* in 128 balls and played perfect foil to Tendulkar, who flayed England bowlers to all parts of the ground. Hemmings had given a Tendulkar life when he was on 10 runs and Tendulkar made everyone pay.
Tendulkar scored a masterful 119* in 189 balls with 17 fours and added 160* runs with Prabhakar to secure a draw for India. Tendulkar became the second youngest Test centurion at the time and saved the Test for India.
The world knew that Tendulkar had arrived.