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India, the architect of many firsts in SENA countries

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Last updated on 05 Jan 2024 | 04:38 PM
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India, the architect of many firsts in SENA countries

With a win in the second Test against South Africa, India became the first Asian team to win a Test in Cape Town

Historically, India are the first Asian team to win for the first time in most of the iconic SENA country venues (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia), just like Cape Town. Apart from South Africa, they have series wins in all the other countries. In fact, they are the only Asian country to win a series in three of the four countries. 

Series win in New Zealand, 1968

The 1968 tour to New Zealand was India's first tour of the country. In their first match itself, they went on to register a win. Interestingly, the win in the first Test was also their first away Test win. Before that, India had played 43 away Tests with 29 losses and 14 draws. 

Though they lost the second Test, India won the other two and won the four-match series with a 3-1 timeline. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi became the first Indian captain to win an away Test and a series. Erapalli Prasanna was the star of the series with 24 wickets, the highest. Bishan Singh Bedi was next on the list with 16. 

With the bat, Ajit Wadekar managed 328 runs at an average of 46.85. Farookh Engineer and Rusi Surti had 321 runs each, averaging 40.1 and 45.85, respectively. 

Pakistan, in 1965 were the first Asian team to tour New Zealand. But the three-match series ended in a draw (0-0). When India won the series in 1968, they became the first Asian team to win a series in a non-subcontinent nation. However, Pakistan won their next tour to New Zealand in 1973.

Series win in England, 1971 

In the previous six tours to England before 1971, India had played 19 Tests without a win. They had lost 15 and drew four. Led by Wadekar, India drew the first two matches.

In the third, India fell short by 71 runs as they folded for 284. With a handy lead, England were in the driver's seat. However, the Indian spin trio, BS Chandrashekar, S Venkataraghavan, and Bedi, had different plans. 

John Jamerson was dismissed via a run-out by BS Chandrashekhar at the score of 23, the first wicket. Then Chandra dismissed John Edrich for a five-ball duck & Keith Fletcher for a golden duck. The Indian spin trio pounced on them like hungry tigers to skittle England for 101. Chandrashekar was the hero with 6/38. 

With 174 as the target, India lost their openers Sunil Gavaskar (0) and Ashok Mankad (11) cheaply. They were two down for 37 before skipper Wadekar and Dilip Sardesai steadied the ship and saw through the day (fourth). 

But India lost Wadekar on their overnight score of 76 on Day 5. However, handy contributions by Gundappa Vishwanath (33), Sardesai (40), and Engineer (28*) helped India win the third Test. 

The Indian spin trio ended up as the leading wicket-takers of the series. Chandra and Venkat led the list with 13, and Bedi had 11. They registered their first win and their first series win in England. After India, Pakistan were the next Asian team to win in England in 1987. 

Series win in Australia, 2018/19

India made history on their 12th tour to Australia. India had lost eight series and drawn three since their first tour in 1947/48 till the 2014/15 series. 

They came close to achieving this feat in the 1977/78 tour. Despite losing the first two Tests, they bounced back with a win in the next two to level the series. However, they agonizingly fell short by 47 runs chasing 493. 

However, things were different in the 2018/19 series. They started with a win, lost the second, and won the third Test on Boxing Day (Tests on 26th December). India drew the Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground and won the series 2-1. Virat Kohli became the first Asian captain to achieve this feat. 

With 521 runs at an average of 74.4, Cheteshwar Pujara was the shining star with the bat. Jasprit Bumrah, the leading wicket-taker of the series, was the hero for India with the ball as he bagged 21 wickets. Till now, India are the only Asian team to win a series in Australia, twice to be precise. 

Few other firsts achieved by India in Tests 

Though India have not won a series in South Africa, they have been the only team to beat the Proteas in a few of their fortresses. 

-At SuperSport Park, Centurion, South Africa have lost only three Tests out of 29. Among the three, India in 2021 was one of them, alongside England in 2000 and Australia in 2014. 

-India are the only Asian team to beat South Africa at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. They won a Test in 2006 and 2018. 

-In the seventh attempt, India won a Test at the Newlands, Cape Town. Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in four attempts each, have lost all. 

Similar to their feats in South Africa, India are the first Asian team to win a Test at the Adelaide Oval (Mts - 13, Won - 2, Lost - 8, Draw - 3). Pakistan, in five attempts, have lost two and drawn three. 

-India are the only Asian team to win a Test at the Gabba, Brisbane (2021). Pakistan have played six Tests, losing five, and Sri Lanka have played three, losing two. 

-In 1977, India became the first Asian team to win a Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

-India are the only team to win a Test at the old Perth Stadium (WACA). Pakistan (5) and Sri Lanka (2) lost all their games at this venue.  

Notable mentions: India were the only Asian team to win a series in West Indies from 1953 till 2008. Their first series win came in 1971 when the West Indies were a force to reckon with. 

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