(Compiled by Vineet Ramakrishnan)
The cricketing ties between England and India can now be passed on as being a legacy. 79 years of playing cricket, England dominated the first half and now India seems to be at the ascendency. It was GF Vernon who laid the foundation for this rivalry when in 1888-89 he took a bunch of amateurs to India. Since then, there has been a steady flow of cricket between the two teams. This rivalry is neither brutal like the Ashes nor is it emotional like India- Pakistan matches, yet it’s a rivalry unmatched by virtue of its cricketing quality.
Indian cricket team first toured England in 1932 under the banner of "All-India" team. Though an Indian team had toured England earlier in 1911, the 1932 tour is recognized as the official one. A solitary Test match was played at Lord`s Cricket Ground. This was the first Test match ever played by India. England won by 158 runs after scoring 259 and 275-8 declared while India were bowled out for 189 and 187.
England 1 India 0
Under Douglas Jardine, England came to India and proved their mettle. The visitors registered comfortable wins and played out a draw. This tour featured the first Test series ever played in India. Lala Amarnath became the first Test centurion for India when he scored a patient 118.
India 0 England 2 Drawn 1
Controversy overshadowed this tour as Lala Amarnath was sent home for disciplinary reasons before the first Test. Maharajah of Vizianagram (Vizzy) captained the team when stalwart CK Nayadu was at his disposal. Vizzy spent more time in the English social circuit than the cricket field and as a result India could manage only 4 wins out of 28 matches played in the tour. Only saving grace was at Old Trafford, when Vijay Merchant and Mushtaq Ahmed struck it out on a torrid pitch to reach their centuries.
England 2 India 0 Drawn 1
It was the first post war tour for England, but for India, with political tensions back home, this tour had to be tough, mentally. The poor weather conditions did not help India’s cause. Despite this, they had a decent showing winning 11 and losing just four of their 29 first-class matches. The only Test result came in the opening Test at Lord`s when Alec Bedser took 11 for 145 on his debut as England won by 10 wickets. Vijay Merchant was outstanding, scoring 2385 runs at 74.53 while Vinoo Mankad took 129 wickets.
England 1 India 0 Drawn 2
India achieved its first ever Test victory in 1951-52 when it beat England in Madras. India thrashed England by an innings and eight runs to square the series. The slow turning pitches proved to be a nightmare for the English batsmen whereas Indian batters relished home conditions, especially Pankaj Roy, who topped the batting average for an India-England series by an Indian. The first three Tests were drawn, and at Kanpur England took the lead with an eight-wicket win. However at Madras, 12 wickets from Vinoo Mankad gave India their first Test win over England.
India 1 England 1 Drawn 3
During the 1952 tour, Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser were at their cricketing peak and a depleted Indian batting line up did not have any answers for the spin duo. Only Vinoo Mankad provided some resistance late in the series and displayed his marvellous all round ability. It was particularly a dull series with 20 of the 29 tour matches resulting in a draw. The second Test at Old Trafford saw Trueman produce one of the best spells of spinning bowling as he picked up 8 for 31 in a total of 58, and when India followed-on, they were skittled for 82, so being dismissed twice in a day. At The Oval, Trueman and Bedser again proved to be the main destroyers sharing ten wickets, as India were bowled out for 98. Rain saved India from a potential whitewash.
England 3 India 0 Drawn 0
England managed their first ever series whitewash against India during this tour. The English dominated the visitors throughout, winning three of their Tests by an innings and the others by eight wickets and 171 runs. Trueman was again bowling to his potential with Brian Statham alongside him. Likes of Colin Cowdrey and Peter May accounted for the Indian bowlers’ misery during the tour. From the Indian side, notable contributions came from AA Baig and Polly Umrigar who scored centuries in the fourth Test.
England 5 India 0 Drawn 0
The 1961-62 tour was a landmark tour for Indian cricket. India registered their first ever series victory against the English. After playing out three drawn Tests, India seized the opportunity at Calcutta with 187-run victory followed by a thumping 10-wicket victory at Madras to wrap up the series 2-0. England suffered heavily without the services of their stalwarts like Truemen, Statham and Cowdrey.
India 2 England 0 Drawn 3
This series was a high scoring affair for both the teams as the tour ended with five draws. Bowlers were not at all in the picture on the lifeless Indian tracks as batsmen made merry from Madras to Delhi. Only interesting bit happened in the final Test when Fred Titmus’s 6 wickets forced India to follow-on, but Bapu Nadkarni sealed the deal with a century denying the Englishmen a favourable result.
India 0 England 0 Drawn 5