The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The lord of Lord's and other Indian centurions at the Mecca of cricket

(Creative Commons picture)
Roar Guru
17th August, 2018
6

The second Test of the 2018 series at Lord’s has ended with England going up two-nil in the five-Test series.

A long tour is looking even longer already. At Lord’s, India were all out for 107 and 130 and faced a combined match total of only 82 overs to lose by an innings and 159 runs. Indian batsmen have however played well here in the past. Let’s take a look.

Now, Lord’s is called the Mecca of cricket. It is the dream of every Test player to play a Test match at Lord’s. It is also the dream of every Test player to score a Test hundred. When both the dreams combine and a Test player hits a Test ton at Lord’s, it becomes something extra special.

Three of India’s greatest batsmen in history, namely Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag, do not have Test centuries here. Coincidentally two other greats, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting too do dot have centuries at Lord’s.

Yet nine Indian batsmen have scored 100s here with Dilip Vengsarkar having three. Let’s have a look at how these hundreds were scored and in what circumstances.

Dilip Vengsarkar
English cricketers Jack Hobbs, Denis Compton, Len Hutton, John Edrich and Geoff Boycott  have three tons at Lord’s, but Dilip Vengsarkar is the only non Englishman in this August list. His three centuries had contrasting results.

The first earned India a draw, the second could not prevent a loss while the third got India a win

The first ton was in a difficult situation. India were shot out for 96 in the first knock and the English attack with Lever, Botham and Hendrick was menacing.

However the genius of the two Vs took India to safety. India batted 150 overs to score 318/4 with Vengsarkar scoring 103 in 295 balls and Gundappa Vishwanath scoring 113 in 337 balls. India were 323 behind. Dilip came in at 79/1 and was third out at 309/3. He was the man of the match.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Vengsarkar’s second ton was a spectacular hundred in a losing cause. England piled up 433 and India were shot out for 128, with only Gavaskar (48) and Kapil (41) reaching double figures.

Following on, India could avoid the innings defeat due to Vengsarkar’s 157 in 264 balls with 21 boundaries, mostly through crisp drives and savage pulls and Kapil’s brutal 89 in just 55 balls with 13 4’s and three 6’s. England however had a comfortable seven wicket win as they needed only 67 to win the Test.

The Colonel’s third Ton at Lord’s resulted in a win for India, the first at the Mecca of cricket. Chetan Sharma’s 5/64 helped restrict England to 294. However the runs had to be scored and India were 264/8.

However with debutant Kiran More scoring 25 Dilip took India to 303/9 when More was out and Maninder walked in with Dilip on 95.

Luckily for India, Maninder survived and Dilip went on to score 126 not out to give India an invaluable 47-run lead.

Kapil and Maninder combined to get England 180 all out and India scored the 134 required to win by five wickets. It was India’s first ever win at Lord’s and India won the next Test too to take the series 2-0.

Coincidentally Dilip once again scored a century after being 99 not out when Maninder came in to bat. This was among India’s finest Test series abroad and the Lord of Lord’s was the man of the series.

Gundappa Vishwanath
As mentioned above, his ton came in the company of the younger Dilip Vengsarkar and both took India to safety. Vishy is one of the best bad-wicket batsman in Test history. His 97 not out at Chenna against Roberts at his best is one of only two innings in the Wisden top 100 which are not centuries.

Advertisement
Advertisement

His century at Lord’s earned India a draw and in fact India did not lose a single Test in the 13 where Vishy got hundreds.

Azharuddin and Ravi Shastri 
Kapil Dev calls two Indian batsmen magicians and not cricketers. They are Gundappa Vishwanath and Mohd Azharuddin.

In the first Test of the 1990 series, India put England in to bat and Graham Gooch scored 333 to take England to 653. two Indian batsmen scored centuries, Azharuddin and Ravi Shastri but still India were in danger of following on when Kapil Dev hit Hemmings for four sixes in a row. India avoided the follow-on but forgot the match had to be saved.

Gooch hit a quick hundred and then India were 224 all out for England to win the Test. Interestingly Vengsarkar had a chance to score a fourth hundred at Lord’s. He scored 52 and 35 in this Test.

Kapil once again missed a chance for a Lord’s ton. He was 77 not out. His four sixes in four balls is widely remembered though, even though India lost the Test.

Sourav Ganguly 
Dada’s ton at Lord’s is special in this list. It was his debut Test and a spectacular hundred. On an iffy wicket, England had scored a fighting 344 and it was imperative that India does not give them a big lead.

They did not due to the efforts of two debutants, Dada and Dravid. While Dada got a brilliant 131 at Number 3, batting down the order at 7, Dravid too shone for his 95. The duo ensured India reached 429, which ruled out all chances of an Indian defeat.

The match was drawn. Jack Russell’s 124 which rescued England from a precarious 107/5 got him the man of the match award.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Rahul Dravid
The Wall, one of the finest batsmen ever to play Test cricket did miss a debut 100 at Lord’s but still ensured that he had a test century at this ground. This was in the first Test of the 2011 series where he scored 103 not out in India’s first innings.

Kevin Pietersen scored a majestic double century in this Test which was the 100th between England and India. England won comfortably by 196 runs. Dravid scored three centuries in the four Test series which India lost 4-0.

Rahul Dravid during a tour match between ECB XI v India A

Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya scored one of the best tons by any Indian batsman overseas. Batting first on a green wicket India were 145/7 but recovered to 295.

A century by Garry Ballance took England to 319 making it a one innings Test. Murali Vijay narrowly missed a ton. He scored 95 with Ravindra jadeja and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar scoring 50s too to set England a 318 run target. Ishant’s 7/74 gave India a famous win and a 1-0 lead in the series. Sadly, India lost the next three Tests for England to comfortably win the series 3-1.

Ajit Agarkar
This was certainly the most unlikeliest of India tons at Lord’s. Batting first, England piled up 487, witch Nasser Hussain topscoring with 155.

India were 221 all out with only Sehwag crossing 50, with a customary blistering knock of 84. However 100’s by Vaughan and Crawley took England to a quick 301/6 in 64 overs setting India an impossible task of 588.

Jaffer, Dravid and VVS scored 50s but India were well and truly out of it at 6/170 when Ajit Agarkar walked in. The Mumbai allrounder, batting at number eight scored a wonderful unbeaten 109. He had partnerships of 24 with Kumble, 14 with Zaheer and a last wicket stand of 63 with Ashish Nehra to not only take India to 397.

Advertisement
Advertisement

While India lost the match, the Indians discovered their fighting spirit and won the third Test by an innings to draw the series 1-1.

This series probably saw the best ever batting by an Indian team in England. Every Test saw an Indian Centurian. While it was Agarkar at Lord’s, it was Sehwag and Dravid at Trent Bridge.

At Headingley where India won by an innings, Sachin scored 193 while in the fourth Test which was drawn, Dravid was man of the match for his 217.

Mulwantrai Himmatlal Mankad (Vinoo Mankad)
The 1952 Test match at Lord’s is known as Mankads Test even though India lost the match. Batting first, India started well with a 106 run partnership between Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy but after Vinoo was out for 72, wickets fell at regular intervals.

Only Vijay Hazare scored 69 not out and India were all out for 235. In response England piled up 537 with Len Hutton scoring a majestic 150. Vinoo took five wickets. India was expected to lose by an innings but Vinoo Mankad, coming in to bat ten minutes after bowling 73 overs scored 184 and took India to 378.

England won easily by eight wickets but Vinoo Mankad had shown fight which will be talked about forever. 

It was only the fifth time that a cricketer had taken five wickets in an innings and scored a hundred in a test match. He and Ian Botham are the only ones to do it at Lord’s.

These are the nine Indian batsmen who have scored Test Tons at Lord’s.

Advertisement
Advertisement

I had stated that Sunil Gavaskar did not have a Test ton at Lord’s.

However for the Rest of the World XI versus the MCC he did have a century, which was not without drama.

Sunny announced on the second day evening that he was retiring from first class cricket and this would be his last match. He was 80 not out then, only 20 short of a coveted 100 at Lord’s.

However there were no hiccups, the next day he did complete his ton and went on to score a huge 188. Almost as an anticlimax however it was not to be his last first class knock, and in the second innings he was out off the bowling of Marshall for a duck.

Later he signed off from International cricket too, with his only ODI hundred, in the 1987 World Cup .

Can these memories revive and inspire the Indian team, currently struggling in England. Hope so.