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The golden moments - India tour of England, 1986.

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India had played 32 Tests against England away from home and had won just once (series winning test on tour of 1971) , lost 20 and drawn 11. India had drawn the 3 match test series (0-0) against Australia in Australia which commenced in December 1985. Captaincy used to switch between Sunny and Kapil and Kapil was going through bad patch when captaincy wins were considered. A very good performance overseas by Team India under the captaincy of Kapil Dev.
 

Test Series Schedule:

1st Test

June 5, 1986 – June 10, 1986 (India won by 5 wickets)
England v India – Lord’s, London


2nd Test - (India won by 279 runs)

June 19, 1986 - June 23, 1986
England v India - Headingley, Leeds.


 

3rd Test - (Draw)

July 3, 1986 – July 8, 1986
England v India - Edgbaston, Birmingham.


 

Squads:

India Squad:
Kapil Dev (Captain), Kiran More (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri (VC) , Vengsarkar, Azharuddin, Sandeep Patil, Manoj Prabhakar, Chetan Sharma, Maninder Singh, Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Madan Lal, Chandrakant Pandit.


England Squad:
Dawid Gower (C), Mike Gatting (Captain - 2nd and 3rd Test), Paul Downton (wk), Bruce French (wk), Tim Robinson, David Gower, Alan Lamb, Derrek Pringle, John Emburey, Richard Ellison, Graham Dilley, Phil Edmonds,Wilf Slack, Bill Athey, John Lever, Mark Benson, Neil Foster, Neal Radford.
 

Debut Test series for:
India Debutants - Kiran More, Chandrakant Pandit.

 

England Debutants – Bruce French, Mark Benson, Neal Radford.

 

Selections:


Syed Kirmani who had toured Australia was replaced by Kiran More due to injury. More had represented India in couple of ODI’s only as Syed Kirmani was a very experienced and first choice keeper for a long time. It was this tour that signed off More as next first choice keeper.

 

1st Test:

Until this test, India had drawn two and lost eight of 10 tests that were played at Lords. Both Kapil and Gower needed to win the series to avoid getting dropped as captain. Chetan Sharma had to fight back after the famous last ball 6 Javed Miandad had hit to win the ODI.

 

India won the toss and opted to bowl. India went with a long battig lineup with Chetan Sharma batting at 10.

Scorecard:

https://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/7350/eng-vs-ind-1st-test-india-in-england-test-series-1986

 

Kapil and Roger Binny took the new ball but they could not get the breakthrough wicket. Maninder Singh claimed the wicket of opener Tim Robinson to end the partnership on 66. Soon after, Chetan Sharma bowled awesome spell dismissing Gower, Gatting and Lamb. From 66/1 , England had mini-collapsed to 98/4. Derek Pringle and Gooch (114) rescued England to take the score to 245/5.

Binny, Kapil and Sharma chipped with wickets regularly to end England's innings at 294. This was Chetan Sharma’s second five wicket haul of his test career to end up with 65/4. A brilliant comeback from the haunting six by Javed Miandad. Surely this spell would have bolstered his confidence.

 

Sunny and Srikkanth had put on opening partnership of 58 runs when Sunny was dismissed caught behind of the bowling of Graham Dilley well taken by keeper Paul Downton diving to his right. India replied with 341 all out courtesy a brilliant 126 by Dilip Vengsarkar. He had scored a ton in each Lords test he had played thus far making it three in three. Mohinder Amarnath batting one down contributed with vital 69 runs. India lead by 47 runs at end of first innings.

 

Kapil Dev opening the bowling in second innings ran through top order claiming wickets of Gooch, Robinson and Gower which left England struggling at 33/3. Gatting and Lamb helped England get to 108/4 but Indian pacers picked wickets regularly to dismiss England for 180 runs, with Maninder Singh wiping off the tailend batsmen. Kapil’s 52/4 was well supported by Maninder Singh’s 9/3 .


 

India needed to chase 134 runs. Srikkanth was dismissed for duck. Sunny scored 22 as England claimed India’s second wicket on a total of 31 runs. Amarnath too was dismissed for just 8 runs. Vengsarkar yet again scored crucial 33 runs before being bowled by Edmonds. India were 78/4 with England having a chance of a win. Azhar and Shastri put on a small but a partnership decent enough to avoid a collapse and take India closer to victory as Azharudding got run out when score was 110/5. Kapil then played counter attacking innings of 23 runs from 18 balls. His 18 runs being scored in one over of Phil Edmonds which took India to victory.


Kapil had bagged 5 wickets from this test and scored 24 runs. His spell in second innings ruining the England top order and match decisive 23 runs at more than run a ball won him the Man Of the Match. This win remains as a historic win for India in test cricket at Lords.
 

Kapil Dev hit a six against SLA Phil Edmonds to win the match This was Kapil Dev’s first test win as captain. The 24 runs unbeaten partnership between Captain Kapil Dev and Vice Captain Ravi Shastri ensured India won the test. It was in this test that More became India’s equalled Naren Tamhane’s 5 catches in debut test. Naman Ojha and Rishabh Pant also share this record as of now.


Also, this was the first time India beat England in Lords, which is now seen more often in recent decades. This ended David Gower’s captaincy as Mike Gatting was made captain for the second test.

 

2nd Test:

Scorecard:

https://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/7351/eng-vs-ind-2nd-test-india-in-england-test-series-1986

 

Shaken by the historic loss to India at Lords, and captaincy handed over to Mike Gatting, England looked to fightback by winning the test to level the series.


Unlike in first test, India decided to bat first at Headingley having won the toss. Chandrakant Pandit and Madan Lal had replaced injured Mohinder Amarnath and Chetan Sharma. Shastri batted at one down in absence of Amarnath.


The loss at Lord’s had not gone well with England selectors who made whooping 5 changes in playing 11for next test. Tim Robinson, David Gower, Paul Downtown , Richard Ellison and Phil Edomonds were replaced by Wilf Slack, Chris Smith, Bill Athey, Bruce French and John Lever.

 

Indian openers, Sunny and Srikkanth, posted a good opening partnership of 64 runs seeing off the threat of new ball bowlers. Derek Pringle claimed wickets of both openers in quick succession. Shastri batting one down in absence of Amarnath along with inform Vengsarkar to avoid a collapse with a 53 runs partnership. Pringle and Dilley managed to get frequent breakthroughs. Madan Lal with his 20 batting at 9 and More with 36 runs batting at 10 took India to 272.

 

Madan Lal bowling with Kapil Dev as opening bowling pair picked early wickets of Wilf Slack, and Chris Smith. Kapil claimed the wicket of Graham Gooch leaving England struggling at 14/3. First change pacer Roger Binny claimed Alan Lamb and Mike Gatting in quick succession. Binny in his careers first 5 wicket haul was outstanding with bowling figure of 40/5 after Madan Lal had dealt initial severe blows claiming 3 wickets for just 18 runs. England batting unit was brutally destroyed at 102 all out giving India a healthy lead of 170 runs which was a lot in the conditions.


England pacers had reduced India upfront to 70/5 but inform Vengsarkar who was in best phase of his batting career was batting better than most of the renowned great batsman of the era. His 102 not out aided with small contributions from middle and lower order batsmen enabled India to a total of 237 runs, setting England a very tough chase of 408 runs. The writing was on the wall. Dev, Binny, Shastri and Maninder Singh never allowed a partnership to bloom. The major destruction was caused by Maninders Singh’s spin claiming 4 wickets for just 26 runs. India had won by a whopping margin of 279 runs. Kapil had his first test series win as captain in his pocket.


3rd Test:

Scorecard:

https://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/7352/eng-vs-ind-3rd-test-india-in-england-test-series-1986

England won the toss and opted to bat first.

 

England tweaked the playing eleven with four changes after the loss by huge margin at Headingley.

 

Amarnath and Chetan Sharma who had recovered from injuries had replaced Chandrakant Pandit and Madan Lal.

 

 

Kapil Dev in his first over claimed the wicket of Graham Gooch. In his second overs of this bowling innings he striked again to dismiss one down Bill Athey. England were reduced to 0/2. Benson and Gower added 59 runs, however both of them were dismissed quickly one after another. Gatting played a captain knock of unbeaten 183 runs getting into partnerships with Derek Pringle and Emburey. Eventually he ran out of batting partner. England had done well with bat, this time scoring 390.

 

Indian batsmen on basis of decent partnerships right through the batting order managed to even up England's total of 390 before being all out. Amarnath and Azharuddin scored 74 and 69 respectively to do majority of the scoring. More (48) and Binny (40) ensured that the runs kept coming from No 8 and No 9 batsmen.

 

In his best bowling figures against England (58/6), surpassing his 65/4 in first test, Sharma saw to it that England could post no more than 235. Spinners Maninder Singh and Shastri picked 3 wickets.

 

India needed to bat less than a day to draw the test. Sunny scored 54 and stayed on wicket long enough to draw the test. Srikkanth, Azharuddin and More put on some runs and survive the day. India ended with 174/5 to win the test series by margin of 2-0.

 

The Positives:
(1) One more feather in cap for Team India as far as overseas test series wins are concerned. A much welcome overseas win after drought of few years.:

a. India won the 4 match test series 3-1 in NZ in 1967/68.

 

b. India won the 5 match test series 1-0 in WI in 1971.

c. India won the 3 match test series 1-0 in England in 1972

 

d. India won the 3 match test series 2-0 in England in 1986


 

(2) Kapil Dev’s first test series win as captain having lost few series before this. The Lord’s test win was his first of captaincy after 20 matches.

 

(3) Like Farokh Engineer and Syed Kirmani, India found Kiran More who could play handy innings, though i would say that Farokh was the best batsman of the three. He could also open the innings if required and play a counter-attacking innings. The most versatile batsmen amongst the three keepers.

 

(4) Vengsarkar was at his best in this phase (peak) and he was batting better than even Viv Richards, Gower, Jaheer Abbas, Grenidge who were all top players during that time.

 

 

 

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Indeed the best of Kapils devils after the WC victory
I dont think India had won many test matches before this win(1 under wadekar thats it in the mid 70s)

Winning a test series in England in such an emphatic manner was stupendous.

I would still rate the team that toured Australia under Sunny in 80/81 as the better team. 

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