Updated on September 30th, 2016
500 test matches: The Indian team has played since making its debut in the format in 1932. Started under the legendary captancy of C.K. Naidu , the baton has now been passed to swashbuckling, agressive Virat Kohli.
The Indian test team has covered a long journey of 84 years, and it has not been a smooth ride. Rarely in its history has India been the finest side in Test cricket, but the teams over the years have provided tough competition to the best at times. India has had its moments.
Here is a list of India’s greatest moments in their 500-test (499-test, to be specific) history:
1. Indian cricket team in England in 1932
2. C.K Nayudu- The first Indian captain
3. Thirty minutes of mayhem at Lord’s, 1932
Nobody gave India a chance when they took field that day at Lord’s in 1932 to play their first Test. England won by 158 runs. It was not a Test to be proud of, but India was there, playing Test cricket, scaring the team that would regain The Ashes in Australia that winter.
England won by 158 runs. It was not a Test to be proud of, but India were there, playing Test cricket, scaring the team that would regain The Ashes in Australia that winter.
4. The day the elephant came to the oval, 1971
That was precisely the title of the opening chapter of Mihir Bose’s A History of Indian Cricket. The story is well-documented. It will be apt to Farokh Engineer from his interview with The Times: “India was a colony of England, and to beat your masters at their own game was a bit of a feather in the cap. Victory in a Test series was joyous, but to beat England in England was a phenomenal feat at the time for us Indians.”
There was a postscript: the Indian fans had ‘loaned’ Bella, a baby elephant, from Chessington Zoo for the occasion. It was, after all, Ganesh Chaturthi.
5. India’s three series wins in a row between 1971 and 1973 and Tiger Pataudi’s captaincy
The Port of Spain win of 1971 was an outstanding achievement and India’s first overseas series win in 1968 in New Zealand was a moment to cherish, but winning three series in a row in 1971-72 – against West Indies, against England in England – and against England in India (1972-73), that was special.
6. Error 406: spinners not found in Queen’s Park Oval, 1975-76
India got off to a solid start, reaching 134 for 1 by stumps. Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath continued the next morning. On a pitch that offered nothing for them, neither Bernard Julien nor Holding could break through. When Gavaskar was second out for 102, the score read 177.
Mohinder and Viswanath then added another 159. Lloyd spread out the field. However, after Mohinder was run out for 85, Brijesh Patel walked out and ran frantically, bringing the target closer and closer. By the time Viswanath was run out for 112 India had wrapped up the match.
India’s fourth-innings total read 406. No other side had chased as much for a win. The record stood till 2003, and has been bettered only twice.
7. Avenging thy neighbours, 1979-80
It had been 27 years since India had won a Test, let alone a series, against Pakistan. There was a halt for 17 years, and when cricket had resumed, Pakistan had thrashed India in 1978-79. The series had ended the career of EAS Prasanna, while neither Bedi nor Chandra saw till the end of 1979. The Indian spin attack now had a new look in Dilip Doshi and Shivlal Yadav.
The series was claimed. It could well have been another home series, but one must remember here that this was one of the strongest teams (not only Pakistan) to tour India. At the same time, if one ignores the Kerry Packer era and New Zealand, this was India’s first series win in seven years, home or away.
It is perhaps time Indian fans gives the triumph the acknowledgement it so richly deserves.
8. Anil Kumble 10 wickets record against Pakistan
9. Stopping the juggernaut, 2001-02
India were bowled out for 176 and 219 at Mumbai. They had their high, reducing Australia to 99 for 5 in the first innings, but Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist raced to respective hundreds and killed the Test. The juggernaut kept rolling. It was now 16 in a row.
Despite Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick and 7 for 123, the second Test at Calcutta seemed to take a similar route. Australia scored 445. India were bowled out for 171 on the third morning, VVS Laxman top-scoring with 59 from No. 6. Waugh enforced the follow-on. When India lost their first wicket at 52, Sourav Ganguly promoted Laxman.
The rest is too well-documented for a repetition: Laxman set a new Indian record, amassing 281; Rahul Dravid supported him brilliantly with 180; Harbhajan took 6 fourth-innings wickets for 73; and Sachin Tendulkar stepped in with 3 quick wickets for 31. India won by 171 runs, exactly what they had scored in their first innings.
But… why remain content with winning a Test when you can clinch a series? Harbhajan took 7 again, this time at Chennai, to restrict Australia to 391. Tendulkar secured 126, two others got eighties, two others sixties, and India got themselves a 110-run lead.
Harbhajan outdid himself again, taking 8 for 84 and stretching his haul to 28 wickets from 2 Tests. Set 155, India were on course at 101 for 2 before panic struck. From 135 for 7 it could be anyone’s game, but debutant Sameer Dighe kept his calm and saw India through.
10.Top of the world, 2009-10
In the 2000s, under Ganguly, Dravid, and MS Dhoni, India crossed one hurdle after another. They drew in Australia (in the absence of key bowlers, but ICC rankings do not take that into consideration), won series in Pakistan, England, West Indies, and New Zealand. South Africa remained unconquered, but they had won their first Test there.
11. Sachin 51st test century 146 Vs South Africa
Watch: Some more remarkable feats of Indian cricket
India’s most successful captain