England vs India in 1971: India wins its first-ever Test series on English soil

It was the first time that India triumphed in two series in one year, having defeated the West Indies earlier.

Skipper Ajit Wadekar waves to the crowd after India's historic series win in England at the Oval in 1971.   -  GETTY IMAGES

India has tamed the British cricket lion in its own den. It was a historic day yesterday
when India beat England in the third and final Test by four wickets with 205 minutes to spare at the Kennington Oval, to clinch to series 1-0.

The victory established at least three firsts. This was the first time India won a Test in England. It was the first time in, 28 Tests since June 1968 that England was defeated and it was also the first time that India triumphed in two series in one year, having defeated the West Indies earlier.

For England this was the first defeat in 14 Tests this year- six against Australia two against New Zealand (both series away) and three each against Pakistan and

It beat Australia 2-0 New Zealand 1-0 and Pakistan 1-0 before succumbing to India 0-1.

On the other hand India emerged unscathed this year-without losing a single Test against the West Indies, which it beat 1-0 in five Tests last winter.

READ: England vs India in 1971: 50 years of the historic Oval Test, Day 1

England vs India in 1971: 50 years of the historic Oval Test, Day 2

England vs India in 1971: 50 years of the historic Oval Test, Day 3

England vs India in 1971: 50 years of the historic Oval Test, Day 4  

But the victory did not come easy. India had to fight for it all the way inch by inch the last when Abid All hit the winning stroke-a square cut for four off Luckhurst. 


It was purposeful batting by Sardesai (40) and Viswanath (33) and another cheerful innings by Engineer (not out 28) that saw India through.

With the wicket helping spin, Illingworth and Underwood bowled almost continuously throughout the morning with Snow. D'Oliveira and Luckhurst taking a turn with the ball for a change.

Both spinners tied down the batsmen to such good purpose that England conceded only 70 runs in 150 minutes taking three wickets as the price llngworth flighted the ball well and varied the length so effectively that the batsmen were able to snatch only 22 runs in his 5O overs.

Illingworth's final figures were an illuminating 36-15-40-0 while  Underwood gave away 72 runs in 38 overs for his three wickets.

Every delivery from them, or from Snow, and D'Oliveira for that matter, was lull of suspense. But the batsmen, with the whole day ahead of them to make 97 runs, went about unhurriedly towards the goal.

And once they tried to take a single which did not exist it cost them the wicket of Wadekar. When Wadekar ran himself out in the second over of the day with the score still at 76 for two, doubts began to rise about Indians' ability to reach the target
of 173 runs

Then Sardesai and Viswanath. through their partnership of 48 runs in 95 minutes, brought the total to under 50 from the goal.


But with Sardesai's departure at that stage there remained a lurking fear in the minds of the Indian supporters, it grew even more with Solkar's dismissal 10 runs later.

At lunch India with the score at 146 for five, was somewhat better placed and when on resumption the first 10 minutes realised 11 runs Engineer doing most of the scoring victory finally came in sight.

England nowever did not relent till the end ana just when three more runs were needed Luckhurst. who had been called by Illingworth as the last hope in
a desperate situation had Viswanath caught at the wicket.

Skipper Wadekar top scored for India in the chase, before he was run-out.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY


It was then left to Abid All to complete the job. Both Sardesai and Visvanath batted with the fullest sense of responsibility that had devolved upon them at a crucial stage.

Their score of 40 in 155 minutes with four 4's and 33 in 170 minutes respectively give an idea of their patience and perseverance against an attack that had always
an edge to it.

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Equally valuable was Engineer's 28 not out, with three 4's, which was marked by his native audacity as well as the watchfulness that was needed at that moment.


And Wadekar too, but for his rash attempt at a single this morning, played a solid innings of 45, which formed the base of the Indian score that ultimately
brought triumph.

It was a triumph of the team as a whole, every member of which played his part in one department or another. But if in the overall perspective one man made the Indian achievement possible it was undisputably Chandrasekhar who, with his destructive spell was mainly instrumental in England being skittled out for its lowest score against India. -its previous lowest being 134 at Lords in 1936.

The victorious Indian cricket team arrives in New Delhi, following the series win in England.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY



Throughout it was an absorbing match, but without thrill until Monday afternoon Till then, in fact, the match at no stage appeared to belong to India. The first sign of victory appeared at lunch on Monday with England losing three wickets for 24 runs in the second innings.

And then with the home side's rout in another 105 minutes for 101 it remained with India's batsmen to finish the job, which they did on Ganesh Chaturthi.


England-1st innings: 355 (I. Jameson 82. J. H Edrich 41, A. P. E. Knott 90 R Hut-
ton 81, Solkar 3 for 28).

India-1st innings 284 (A. L. Wadekar 48, D N Sardesai 54, E. D. Solkar 44, F M Engineer 59, S Abid AH 26, Illingworth 5 fo 70)

England-2nd innings: 101 (B. W Luckhurst S3. Chandrasekar 6 for 38)

India-2nd innings: A. V. Mankad c Hutton b Underwood 11, S. M. Gavaskar lbw Snow 0,  A. L. Wadekar (run out) 45, D. N. Sardesai c Knott b Underwood 40,  G. R. Viswanath c Knott b Luckhnrst 33,  E. D. Solkar c and b Underwood 1, F. M. Engineer (not out) 28,  S. Abid All (not out) 4.

Extras 12

Total (far 6 wkts in 101 overs) 174.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-76, 4-124, 5-134. 6-170.

England Bowling:





































This first appeared in The Hindu on August 25, 1971.

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