Indian performers at Lords tests — Part 2
England and India are to meet at Lords for the 2nd test of the 2021 series. In continuation of the best Indian performances at Lords, we continue to look back at more instances
Debutants Sourav Ganguly 131 & Rahul Dravid 95 (1996)
The 1996 Lords test was a significant one for India. It saw the test debuts of two future Indian captains and two great batsmen. After England scored 344 in the first innings, India started slowly at 59/2. Left-hander Sourav Ganguly came to bat at 3 and from the word go was in sublime touch with his silken cover drives and dazzling backfoot cuts. He played a couple of pulls well too as he looked in supreme touch on debut. He reached his debut test 100 at Lords to a great ovation and at 202/5 he was joined by another debutant, the technically correct righthander Rahul Dravid who looked very elegant especially on the on side.
Together they added 94 before Sourav was out for 131 off 301 balls having hit 20 fours. Dravid looked solid right through but could not complete his well deserved 100 being dismissed for 95 with 6 fours off 267 balls. Their batting and some good Indian bowling put England under pressure on the last day but finally, the match ended in a draw.
Ajit Agarkar 109 notout (2002)
In 2002 India lost to England at Lords but the last day saw some classy batting by fast bowler Ajit Agarkar, who with his big flourish and backlift played some delightful shots especially through the point cover region. It was an eye-catching innings and any top-order batter would have been proud. Sadly Agarkar could not realise his full potential as a bowling allrounder for the remainder of his career.
MS Dhoni 76 not out ( 2007)
This was the first 1st test of the victorious 2007 series for India. England set India 380 to win and India kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Defeat looked imminent but Dhoni played a stubborn innings much against his character. His knock was interspersed with some cracking boundaries but he showed great temperament and restraint to shepherd the lower order under extreme pressure. The 9th wicket fell at 263 and Dhoni along with Sreesanth just managed to grimly defend under extreme tension till the umpires offered them bad light which was gleefully accepted. Rains later arrived and the match never got started thus ending in a draw. Dhoni helped India to get out of jail and that result finally helped India to subsequently winning the series in 2007 with a win at Trent Bridge . Dhoni scored 76 in 159 balls with 10 fours in one of his greatest test knocks.
Rahul Dravid 103 (2011)
England batters were dominant with a near 500 score. In reply India was losing wickets at regular intervals. But the 38-year-old Rahul Dravid was in sublime touch against a formidable bowling attack. Having missed a 100 on debut at this very ground 15 years ago in 1996. The “wall” was determined to make amends and played a gorgeous knock full of sparkling drives on either side of the wicket. He scored 103 off 220 balls with 16 fours & saved the follow on. In the 2nd innings, he had to open due to Gambhir’s injury & scored 35. However, India lost the test by a big margin
Ajinkya Rahane 103 (2014)
Ajinkya Rahane held the Indian batting together in the 2014 Lords test first innings scoring a heroic century in the process. With positive strokeplay all around the wicket. Rahane hit 15 fours and a six to set up India in the test
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 6/82, 36 & 52 (2014)
In the same test, after Rahane 100, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who shone the most in the test scoring a useful 36 in the first innings, followed up with a superb spell of 6/82 including the wickets of top 4 in the batting line up followed by Stokes & Broad . He used the swinging atmosphere to great effect and unleashed his lethal outswingers which troubled the England players. Again in the 2nd innings after India were struggling at 235/7. Bhuvneshwar scored a valiant 52 and had a crucial 99 run stand with Jadeja. Which helped in a long way to script an Indian win.
Ishant Sharma 7/74 (2014)
India had set a target of 319 for England in the Lords. England looked good at one stage after a 99 run stand they were 173/4. However, the tall Ishant Sharma bowled a searing spell taking 7 wickets. Which many came from the judicious usage of bouncers and short balls. England could not have a partnership at the back end of the chase & lost by 95 runs.