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 first part – from 1933-34 to 1972-73.
1933-34 – England won the Tests 2-0
Test cricket came to India in the form of an England side led by Douglas Jardine, and the result was unsurprising. England won the first Test between the two sides at the Bombay Gymkhana by nine wickets, and after a draw in Kolkata the visitors crushed India by 202 runs in Chennai.
At the Bombay Gymkhana, England’s first innings of 438 ensured India were left to play catch up after they made 219. Bryan Valentine’s 136 made the difference between the two sides. Lala Amarnath dazzled with a stroke-filled 118 on debut added 186 with his skipper, CK Nayudu. However, the remaining seven wickets managed just 55 and victory came before lunch on day four for England.
At Eden Gardens, after England scored 403 in the first innings, India were kept to 247 and made to follow-on; they were bowled out for 237 and England lost two wickets for five runs before the match was drawn.
In Madras, two poor innings of 145 and 249 saw India lose by 202 runs. Despite Amar Singh’s seven wickets England posted 335 in their first innings, and seven wickets from Hedley Verity ensured a big lead. A century to Cyril Walters set a target of 452 and India never came close, with Verity taking four wickets and James Langridge five.
1951-52 – Tests tied 1-1-
England, under Nigel Howard and Donald Carr, were held to a series draw in the five-match contest. The first three Tests in Delhi, Bombay and Kolkata were drawn, but England won by eight wickets in Kanpur to leave the series up for grabs in Chennai. However, India rallied superbly to script their first Test win and end the contest on a high.
The win in Kanpur was fashioned by England’s bowlers. In particular, Roy Tattersall and Malcolm Hilton taking nine wickets each. Tattersall’s 6 for 48 and Hilton’s 4 for 32 bowled India out for 121 but Ghulam Ahmed (5 for 70) and Vinoo Mankad (4 for 54) hit back to keep England to 203. However, Hilton was given the new ball and proceeded to take five wickets and skittle the hosts for 157. Set a target of 76, England won before the close of day three.
Moving to Chennai, India responded first through Mankad whose 8 for 55 from 38.5 overs bowled England out for 266 after Carr opted to bat. Then Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar hit centuries to take India to 457 for 9 – a lead of 191. Ahmed and Mankad spun out four wickets each as England were bowled out for 183 to cap an outstanding win.
1961-62 – India won the Tests 2-0
Like a decade before, the series had no victory after the first three Tests. Then India won at Eden Gardens to end a run of nine consecutive drawn Tests for them. Winning the toss had given Nari Contractor’s team an advantage that was consolidated by the spinners. After a series of solid scores took the hosts to 380, Salim Durrani and Chandu Borde shared nine wickets as England folded for 212. Borde’s 62 avert a disaster and reach 252 in the second innings before England, having resumed the final day at 125 for 4, fell to 233.
India wrapped up a famous series win in Chennai by taking advantage of winning the toss and once again putting up a good total on a spin-assisting track. Contractor (86) and MAK Pataudi (103) were the main contributors to a first-innings total of 428; Durani’s six secured a 147-run lead; India stumbled to 191 with only Vijay Contractor (85) crossing 17; set 388 to win England could manage only 209 with Durani making it ten wickets in the Test.
1963-64 – Test series drawn 0-0
A Mike Smith-led England battled it out through five drawn Tests against Pataudi’s India. India started off well in Chennai, scoring 457 after being asked to bat with Buddhi Kunderan hitting 192, but failed to take the match after setting the visitors a target of 293. For England, Fred Titmus was exemplary with match figures of 9 for 162 on a slow pitch.
At the Brabourne Stadium, a very defensive India failed to beat a depleted England that had just two specialist batsman. Having taken a 67-run lead, India’s batsmen applied themselves painstakingly slow in making 249 for 8 in 115 overs. A fragile England, asked to score 317 in just over four hours, settled for a draw after struggling to pick the debutant BA Chandrasekhar’s googlies in their first innings.
At Eden Gardens, England welcome back Colin Cowdrey and Peter Parfitt but it was the bowling of John Price that kept India to 241 after Pataudi chose to bat. Cowdrey made 107 before rain interrupted play; by the end of the fourth day England had a lead of 26 and it was one-way traffic as a tame draw was played out.
A high-scoring draw followed in Delhi. Despite a brilliant 105 from Hanumant Singh India were bowled out for 344 before Cowdrey’s 151 century propelled England to 451. India’s second innings did not start until after lunch on day four and at stumps they were 166 for 2. The inconsequential final day saw Kunderan reach his second century of the series and Pataudi finish on 203 from 430 balls.
The series came to a dull conclusion in Kanpur on a dodo-dead pitch on which 1172 runs were scored for the loss of 21 wickets. England made 559 for 8 and then made India follow-on after Titmus took six wickets. India drew with little fuss, however, with Bapu Nadkarni – after an unbeaten 52 - promoted to No. 3 and hitting his only Test century; for good fun, Durrani treated the crowd to some fine hitting and enlivened the final session's play with 61 off 34 balls.
1972-73 – India won the Tests 2-1
After the dullness of the previous tour, England and India engaged in a fine series of five Test matches highlighted by some memorable performances and camaraderie. This was a fluent and sometimes flamboyant England, led by Tony Lewis and carried by the likes of Tony Greig and Keith Fletcher, and the difference showed on and off the field.
Lewis, leading on Test debut in Delhi, began with a second-ball duck as England made 200 after keeping India to 173, but in a successful chase of 207 he hit an unbeaten 70. Geoff Arnold (6 for 45), Greig (68* and 40*) and Derek Underwood (4 for 70) were the other stars as England won by six wickets.
Ajit Wadekar’s side, buoyed by a crowd of 70,000 on all five days, drew level at Eden Gardens. Chandrasekhar – who had taken nine wickets in Delhi – was again the man who troubled Lewis’ team the most though Greig, with scores of 29 and 67, batted on a different level against his unorthodox wiles. In a low-scoring match, India’s slow bowlers made the difference in a 28-run win: Chandrasekhar took nine more and Bishan Bedi 5 for 63 in the second innings.
A tense four-wicket win in Chennai gave India a series lead. Spin again dominated, with Chandrasekhar taking 6 for 90 as England were bowled out for 242; only Pataudi crossed 50 in India’s reply of 316 with Pat Pocock taking five wickets; Bedi and EAS Prasanna shared eight wickets to leave India needing 86 to win; victory was sealed after a tough battle against Pocock (4 for 28) with Durani’s 38 playing a key role.
Drawns in Kanpur and Bombay ensured India held on for a 2-1 series success.