England v India at Lord's in the 21st century

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11 Aug 2021 | 05:47 AM
authorcricket.com staff

England v India at Lord's in the 21st century

The epic moments that defined the five Tests at the home of cricket since 2000

England vs India at Lord’s has produced some memorable moments. Be it Dilip Vengsarkar’s three back-to-back centuries or Graham Gooch’s 456 runs in a Test, there have been many memorable performances and matches. India have managed to win just twice at this venue – once in 1986 and most recently in 2014. As both teams head to the second Test after a stalemate in the first Test, we look back at the matches between England and India at Lord’s since the turn of the millennium. 

2002

India won their first Test in the West Indies in 26 years, but lost the series before embarking on their tour to England. The Sourav Ganguly-led side was hungry for more success in England as they began their 2002 series at Lord’s. Only 12 days before the start of this Test, Ganguly was seen on the Lord’s balcony waving his shirt after India chased down 326 in the Natwest Trophy final. 

But, India never looked in the game after Nasser Hussain won the toss and batted. Hussain led from the front as his 155, along with fifties from John Crawley, Andrew Flintoff and Craig White gave England a formidable 487. India started off well, but their middle-order collapsed from 128 for 1 to 177 for 6 – a period that saw Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and VVS Laxman back in the pavilion. 

India conceded a 266-run deficit and England further added to their agony and piled on 301 more runs to set India a 568-run target. While the target was way out of reach, Ajit Agarkar had his day in the sun and brought up his maiden century. He remained unbeaten on 109 as India succumbed to a 170-run loss.

2007

Having won their first-ever Test in South Africa, the Dravid-led side went into the tour of England full of confidence. The South Africa tour also marked the return of Ganguly, who played an instrumental role in helping India to their maiden win at the Rainbow Nation. Bring on England! 

A dubious call by umpire Steve Bucknor denied England of a nail-biting victory in the summer of 2007. 

From being 218 for 1 in the first innings, England added just 80 more runs. But the England bowlers were equal to the task and gave the hosts a huge 97-run first-innings lead.

Despite wickets falling around him, Kevin Pietersen scored a majestic 134 in the second innings and his 109-run sixth-wicket stand with Matt Prior helped England set India a target of 380. With India needing 243 runs more to win on the final day with seven wickets in hand, they would have felt they had an outside chance. However, things slowly started swinging England’s way especially after Laxman’s dismissal, with India still needing 149, while England needed just four wickets. MS Dhoni held one end up, but the tail consisting of Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble and RP Singh played out just seven overs between them. 

With the light beginning to fade, England were asked to operate with spinners. They had Monty Panesar, while Michael Vaughan took it upon himself to do the job from the other end. Panesar thought he had Sreesanth plumb in the 95th over, but Bucknor turned it down. A few deliveries later, it became too dark and the light and the rain arrived shortly after that. The play never resumed. 

How big was Bucknor’s decision? India went on to win the next Test at Trent Bridge and drew the Test at Oval to win their first-ever series in England since 1986. 

2011

Between a drawn series in South Africa and beating West Indies in the Caribbean, India had won the 50-over World Cup at home, bringing an end to a 28-year drought. While India may have dominated 50-over cricket, their misery in the longest format away from home was about to begin.

It started once again at Lord’s and it was once again Pietersen who was their nemesis. He scored a magnificent double century to put his side in command. Despite an unbeaten ton by Dravid, India managed just 286 in reply to England’s 474 for 8.  From 107 for 6, England were able to further assert their dominance thanks to an unbeaten 162-run seventh-wicket stand between Prior (103*) and Stuart Broad (74*), which helped them set India 458. 

Not the first time India failed to close out an innings and was certainly not the last occasion. With nine wickets left on the final day, India would have hoped to etch out a draw, but James Anderson had other plans as his five-wicket haul ensured England completed a comfortable 196-run win. This was also the 100th Test between the two sides.

This was the beginning of not just a 4-0 whitewash, but India would then go to Australia the same year and lose by the same margin.

2014

After a drawn Test in Nottingham, where Joe Root and  Anderson were involved in a record 10th wicket stand, the action quickly shifted to Lord’s. India perhaps had one of the most balanced teams, with three frontline pacers, a fast-bowling all-rounder, and a spin all-rounder. Thankfully for them, Ajinkya Rahane got his name on the Lord’s honour’s board with a top-class ton and some support from the tail saw India notch up 295 in gloomy conditions. 

England took a vital 24-run lead thanks to a strokeful 110 from Gary Ballance and an unbeaten 55 from Liam Plunkett. After a vital 36 with the bat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up six English wickets to keep the lead down to a bare minimum. He was not done as he again strode out with the bat in hand with India in a precarious position at 235 for 7, with a 211-run lead. India needed more runs and given that it was just Day Four, they needed to bat out time. A quickfire 68 from Ravindra Jadeja and a 71-ball 52 from Bhuvi saw the duo put up 99-run eighth wicket and stretch the lead beyond 300. 

Set a target of 319, Ishant Sharma ripped into the England line-up a career-best of 7 for 74 as India went on to win by 95 runs. This was India’s first win at Lord’s in 25 years.

This loss was a wake-up call for England, who went on to win the next three Tests by 266 runs, an innings and 54 runs, and finally at The Oval, they registered the biggest win of the tour, claiming an innings and 244-run victory to put India out of their misery. A tour that promised so much, ended in heartbreak for India. The losing streak continued as India would go on to lose two more Tests in Australia, taking their tally to five before playing out a draw in MCG.

2018

After losing the first Test at Edgbaston by a slender 31-run margin, India were determined to take the lead at Lord’s. However, an English bowling masterclass saw India bowled out for just 107 in the first innings, with Anderson picking up yet another five-for. While it was always going to be difficult to stamp their authority after such a low score, India were in the game till they got the wicket of Jos Buttler at 131 for 5, but it was an old script after that as they let the lower-order dominate. Chris Woakes scored an unbeaten 137, Jonny Bairstow smashed 93 and Sam Curran added 40 in quick time to hand the home side a lead of 289.

It was yet another sorry performance with the bat in the second innings as Virat Kohli’s men were bundled out for just 130 to hand England a massive innings and 159-run victory. 

India bounced back extremely well in the next Test at Trent Bridge to reduce the margin to 2-1 but then went on to lose in Southampton by 60 runs followed by a 118-run loss in the final Test at The Oval to lose the series 4-1. Many believed the final scoreline did not do justice to how India performed in the series, but then it was all that mattered at the end of the day.

History may certainly not be on India’s side when it comes to Lord’s Tests, but it would be naïve to count them out completely. This match could very well decide the course of the series.

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