Reflections: India series win in England 2007
After the victorious 1986 series, India lost the test series in 1990 and 1996 by identical 0-1 margins. In 2002, India had a solid team with a great batting lineup and came out with a creditable 1-1 drawn series under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy.
Finally, after 21 years since 1986 India won their 3rd test series in England in 2007 under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid.
Before the series, India had miserably lost the World cup 2007 by exiting from the group stage. Hence there was a lot of disappointment amongst the fans. The highly respected Chandu Borde was appointed the manager of the team to England. Thus India started the test series under the leadership of the calm Rahul Dravid. Reflections: India series win in England 2007.
1st Test Lords
So the series began at Lords. England batted first and put up 298 due to the efforts of Andrew Strauss (96) and skipper Michael Vaughan (79). The Indian fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and RP Singh were impressive and shared most of the wickets.
In reply, India was bowl out for 201 in which James Anderson (5/42) and Ryan Sidebottom (4/65) shared the spoils which quality swing bowling. Wasim Jaffer (58) top-scored for India.
In the England 2nd innings, the two Indian lefthanders Zaheer Khan (4/79) & RP Singh (5/69) produced high-quality swing bowling to take regular wickets. England was rescue singlehandedly by Kevin Peitersen who scored a dazzling 134 off 219 balls and only got some support from keeper Matt Prior (42) as England managed 282 in their 2nd innings.
India was thus set a 380 target and lost the top three relatively cheaply at 84/3. However makeshift opener Dinesh Karthik played well for his 60. Later Ganguly (40) & Laxman (39) tried to take India to safety but they got out at the wrong time as India lost wickets regularly. It was left to Dhoni to take India to safety. He played a resolute innings of 76 not out and was batting with last man Sreesanth when bad light and subsequent rain totally washed out play in the last session and India just about managed to get out of jail. For England, their bowlers toiled hard to win Tremlett took 3 wickets while Anderson, Sidebottom and Panesar shared 2 each.
2nd test Nottingham
Having just about survived a certain defeat, Indian bowlers came out all guns blazing in the 2nd test with Zaheer Khan (4/59) leading the way with his movement and accuracy. England was bowled out for a paltry 198 with Alistair Cook top-scoring with 43.
Finally, the Indian batters came to the party in the most important stage of the series. Karthik (77) & Jaffer (62) had a productive opening stand of 147 runs to lay a strong foundation. the middle order cashed in with useful knocks from Dravid (37), Tendulkar (91), Ganguly (79) and Laxman (54) as a result of which India managed to put up an imposing score of 481.
England was not done yet and a fine century from Michael Vaughan ensued. He scored 124 with full of delightful shots. He was supported by Collingwood (63) & Cook (56) as England at one stage were 287/3.
However, Zaheer 5/75 was outstanding again and with the help of Kumble (3/104) and RP Singh ( 2/52) ensured the collapse of England who lost 7 wickets for only 68 runs to be 355 allout that left India only 73 to win which they easily achieved for the loss of 3 wickets to take 1-0 series lead.
3rd Test Oval
After a great win at Nottingham, India were greet to a fine batting strip at the Oval and batted 1st after winning the toss. The whole batting lineup virtually got runs as India piled on further agony on England. Karthik (91), Dravid (55), Tendulkar (82), Laxman (51) and Dhoni (91) all crossed 50s. Finally, India got its first individual century in the series and it came from the most unlikeliest source. Anil Kumble has always batted with purpose whenever require and on this day he simply enjoyed batting on a good pitch and scored an unbeaten 110 runs being help by a last-wicket partnership of 73 with Sreesanth (35) as India piled up 664 and batted England out of the series.
England was under pressure now and scored 345 runs in the first innings with Cook (61), Bell (63) & Collingwood (62) getting 60s. Zaheer and Kumble shared 6 wickets for India. However, with his bowlers apparently tired, Dravid chose not to enforce the follow on even though the lead was 319.
In the 2nd innings, India was in search of quick runs and Ganguly obliged with a sparkling 57. Later Laxman (46) and Dhoni (36) took India to 180/6. A sufficient lead of 499 runs. End on 4th day, England were 56/0.
On the 5th day, England batted resolutely with everyone in the top and middle-order getting runs. Pieterson (101) was outstanding again and well supported by Bell (67) and others, getting 30s & 40s as they overcame a talented Indian bowling attack to save the match. With the score at 369/6, the players of both sides shook hands.
India finally won the series 1-0. It was a highly creditable performance after the World cup heartbreak.
India was reasonably well serve by their batsmen with makeshift opener Dinesh Karthik getting the highest tally of 263 runs followed by Sourav Ganguly (249), Tendulkar ( 228), Dhoni (209) and Laxman (205). Kumble got 162 runs for the team.
On the bowling front, Zaheer was outstanding with 18 wickets, followed by Kumble (14) & RP Singh (12).
For England, Kevin Pieterson (345) ended as the highest run-getter across both teams. He was follow by Cook (223), Strauss (211) and Vaughan (295) as chief run-getters in this series.
On the bowling front, Anderson (14) and Tremlett (13) got the most wickets.
Thus after 21 years since 1986, India won a Test series in England. Success went downhill after that in 2011, 2014 & 2018 tours with India losing miserably by 0-4 , 1-3 , 1-4 margins respectively.
Can they turn the tide in 2021 ?