Sourav Ganguly birthday special: 25th anniversary of Lords test debut 100
The ” Prince of Kolkata ” turns 49 today. Sourav Ganguly was India’s arguably the finest test captain and the best-lefthanded batsman the nation ever produced. His astounding international record speaks volumes of his greatness. 7212 runs in 113 tests at 42 average with 16 hundreds, 11363 runs in 311 ODis at 41 average and 74 strike rate with 22 hundreds, 32 test wickets and 100 ODI wickets and 15000 runs apiece in first-class cricket and list A cricket speaks volumes of his greatness & consistency which did not come easily due to selection politics in the early part of his career.
Always wearing his heart on his sleeve, ” Dada” as he is affectionately called led India with gusto in international cricket after taking on the reins in 2000 while the clouds of match-fixing allegations were hanging over Indian cricket. Winning the historic 2001 series vs invincible Australia & the first-ever test series in Pakistan in 2004 were his two biggest captaincy achievements, not to speak of his world cup 2003 runner up medal.
One of the greatest exponents of the cover drive, his batting was all class and timing. Sourav Ganguly birthday special: 25th anniversary of Lords test debut 100.
And his sense of timing was right for becoming the BCCI president too from 2019 onwards after serving several years as CAB ( Cricket Association of Bengal) President after his playing days.
On the occasion of his birthday, we dive down the memory lane and briefly revive the memories of his sparkling debut test 100 at Lords in 1996 which has completed 25 years this year.
Sourav Ganguly 131 v England Lords, 1996
England batted first and scored 344 in the first innings helped by Jack Russell’s 124 as one of the 3 debutants for India in this series, Venkatesh Prasad took 5/76.
India batted in the difficult last session of the 2nd day and reached 83/2 with Ganguly coming in at 3 after the 1st wicket fell at 23. After surviving a close lbw shout, Ganguly was 26 not out at close looking solid.
On 3rd day of the test, Sourav Ganguly played his dream innings. As India lost wickets at regular intervals with Tendulkar, Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja getting out after playing themselves in. Sourav looked non-flustered and played confidently showing solid defence and playing the occasional cover drives and cuts.
As India reached 202/5 Sourav was joined by the other debutant. Rahul Dravid who batted at 6 and showed immaculate defence. While Dravid was rock solid, Sourav started unleashing his full repertoire of strokes. Driving anything fuller beautifully through the covers or cutting anything short through point. The English bowlers tried to bowl bouncers to test him. But they were disdainfully pulled towards square leg or mid-wicket boundary as the runs flowed for India. The English commentators of whom there were many former cricketers like David Gower. Himself a great lefthander in his era, were all spellbound and excited to see this innings from a young debutant.
Sourav finally reached his 100 by driving Dominic Cork through the covers for another sparkling 4.
Sourav was out after he had already scored 131 off 301 balls with 16 delightful fours. After that, he was clean bowled by Allan Mullally. A Test century at Lords on debut is a dream for any debutant.
India scored 429 in the first innings. With 95 runs lead conceded England batted cautiously to reach 278/9 on the last day to ensure a draw. On the final day, Ganguly bowled 3 overs and took 1 for 5 with Jack Russell being his first test wicket.
Watch the highlights of Sourav Ganguly debut test 100