Since 1933, England have toured India 14 times for bilateral series with an overall record of 24 wins from 88 international matches in all formats (there has been just one Twenty20 international played between the two sides in India).
Ahead of a four-Test series starting November 15 in Ahmedabad, we take a look back at previous bilateral series between the two teams on Indian soil. Today, the second part – from 1976-77 to 1984-85.
1976-77 – England won the Tests 3-1
Under Tony Greig, England came to India and beat the hosts emphatically. The key to success was nullifying the threat of India's spin quarter, and leading the way were Dennis Amiss and Greig with 417 and 342 runs respectively. The 3-1 series victory was a major achievement for Greig.
Amiss set the tone for a strong series with 179 out of England’s only innings in Delhi, and splendid bowling from John Lever (7 for 46 and 3 for 24) and Derek Underwood (1 for 19 and 4 for 78) wrapped up an innings win. In Kolkata, a ten-wicket victory followed. Bob Willis’ 5 for 27 led another fine bowling effort as India were shot out for 155, and then Greig’s 103 helped his side to a decisive lead despite nine wickets from Bishan Bedi and EAS Prasanna. More good work from England’s bowler wrapped up India for 181 in the second innings to set a target of 16.
Up 2-0, England took the series in Chennai with a 200-run drubbing. On a genuinely fast surface, Greig again featured with crucial innings of 54 and 41 in a low-scoring Test, but it was ultimately the bowlers – in particular Lever and Underwood – who proved decisive. India were poor, being bowled out for 164 and 83, their lowest total in a home Test.
A scoreline of 4-0 was averted in Bangalore, where the batsmen stood up to Willis (eight wickets) and Underwood (five) and BS Chandrasekhar and Bedi spun a web around England in a 140-run victory. The final Test in Bombay was drawn, with the last-day draw putting an end to what was regarded as the most even and exciting match of the series.
1979-80 – England won the only Test
The Golden Jubilee Test, in celebration of 100 years of the Indian cricket board, was a one-man show with a dazzling Ian Botham deflating India with 13 wickets and blazing century at the Wankhede Stadium. Botham's six wickets kept India to 242 and then he took over with the bat, hitting 113 with 17 fours to lift his team from 58 for 5 to 296. He just got better and better, with seven wickets to follow as India were dismissed for 149. A target of 96 was achieved without loss.
1981-82 – India won the Tests 1-0; ODIs 2-1
Six Tests produced one victory, and that 138-run success by India in the series opener in Bombay proved unassailable. It was a win fashioned by the bowlers, with Dilip Doshi’s 5 for 39 in England’s first innings of 227 keeping the tourists to a lead of 61 and Kapil Dev and Madan Lal taking five apiece as Keith Fletcher’s team was bowled out for 102 on day four. In a performance that had just one Indian half-century, Kapil’s 38 off 50 balls and 46 off 50 proved decisive too.
The second Test in Bangalore was a dull affair in which only 23 wickets fell as both teams batted slowly – the match is remembered largely for Sunil Gavaskar’s 172 off 472 balls, the longest innings by an Indian at 11 hours and 48 minutes. Delhi was an even duller match, with 19 wickets falling on a placid track on which both team’s first innings consumed over four-and-a-half-days.
Eden Gardens saw 78,000 spectators on all five days witness a far more engaging match. England had a good shot at leveling the series after Fletcher gave his bowlers six hours to dismiss India a second time – or the host to chase 306 on a wearing fifth-day pitch. But smog knocked off 70 minutes and eased India’s nerves with Gavaskar – surviving two very close lbw shouts early on – batting the entire day.
Parity was restored in Chennai where another road of a pitch saw Gundappa Vishwanath surpass Gavaskar’s 221 at The Oval in 1979 with 222 as the best score by an Indian against England. Yashpal Sharma (140) and Graham Gooch (127) also scored centuries in a high-scoring draw. The sixth Test in Kanpur had nine hours and 40 minutes lost due to rain and in the remaining time both teams batted just once on a hard, run-filled surface. The two star allrounders, Botham and Kapil, picked up centuries.
India won the three -ODI contest – spread before and between the Tests – by a 2-1 margin after losing the first match by five wickets.
1984-85 – England won the Tests 2-1; ODIs 4-1
A resounding victory in the Tests and ODIs by David Gower’s England. After losing the first Test in Bombay due to a poor first innings and some dubious umpiring – L Sivaramakrishnan took 12 for 181 and Ravi Shastri and Syed Kirmani hit centuries in an Indian seventh-wicket record stand of 235 – England leveled the series in Delhi with an eight-wicket victory. The bowlers restricted India to 307 before Tim Robinson (160) shared century stands with Allan Lamb and Paul Downton to deliver a 111-run lead. In the second innings India’s last six wickets fell for 28 to set England a target of 125 in 20 overs which they knocked off with 8.2 overs remaining.
India got the better of a weather-hit draw at Eden Gardens with Shastri and Mohammad Azharuddin (on debut) hitting centuries and Chetan Sharma and Shivlal Yadav among the wickets. In Chennai, England took the lead thanks to Neil Foster’s 6 for 104 on the first day and double-centuries to Graeme Fowler and Mike Gatting – the first English pair to do so in the same innings – that put the match out of India’s reach. Another century to Azharuddin was not enough to prevent a nine-wicket defeat. The final Test in Kanpur was drawn, with Azharuddin making a hat-trick of centuries.
The five ODIs, spread out through the tour, saw England outclass India.