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The crowds are on the field, enveloping Farokh Engineer. S Abid Ali is running back & forth to grab a stump as a souvenir. The Indian team balcony at the Kennington Oval balcony is buzzing. The mood is ecstatic, the scenes are electrifying.
August 24, 2021 marks 50 years of a historic feat which saw the Ajit Wadekar-led unit beat England to seal India’s first Test series triumph on English soil following their landmark series win in West Indies earlier in 1971.
India and England went into the third & final Test after drawing the first two matches of the series at Lord's and Mancheste respectively.
Batting first, England posted 355 runs on the board and India, in response, put on 284, courtesy fifties from Dilip Sardesai and Engineer and valuable 40s from captain Wadekar and Eknath Solkar, who had scalped 3 England wickets in the first innings.
Bhagwath Chandrasekhar then turned the game on its head for India in England’s 2nd innings. The legendary leg-spinner ran through the England batting line-up and returned with figures of 6/38 as India bowled England out for 101.
While Srinivas Venkataraghavan picked two wickets, in addition to a sharp catch, and Bishan Bedi got a wicket, Solkar grabbed two outstanding catches at short-leg.
India, who needed 173 runs to secure a win, then held their nerve as Wadekar, Sardesai, Gundappa Viswanath and Engineer scored crucial 45, 40, 33 & 28* respectively and went on to seal a historic four-wicket win.
The win was special then. It is special now. It will remain special, forever.
Current Team India Head Coach Ravi Shastri reminisced the historic series win from England, at the Oval as he said, “The 1971 series win in England lifted spirits of Indian cricket in a huge manner. It gave them the belief that they can go overseas and win. And to do it in England is always historic. 50 years have gone by, and those players really set the tone. Hats off to all of them.”
Statistical Highlights & Facts:
1: India clinched the three-match series 1-0.
2; The win in the third Test was India’s first Test win against England in England.
3: Captain Ajit Wadekar was the leading run-scorer for India with 204 runs.
4: With 13 wickets each, S Venkataraghavan & Bhagwat Chandrasekhar were the joint-highest wicket-takers for India.
5: Bhagwat Chandrasekhar claimed a game-changing 6/38 in the 2nd innings of the third Test to bowl England out for 101.
6: S Abid Ali hit the winning runs for India to seal the series.
7: On return to India, the team was given a welcome in Mumbai with a motorcade from the Airport to Brabourne Stadium.