Jump to content

The golden moments - India tour of England, 1971.

   (0 reviews)

Straight Drive

It was in April 1971 that India had won the five match test series with margin of 1-0 against WI in WI. The following tour to England starting in June 1971 included 16 Warmup matches and 3 Tests. Whereas the WI tour comprised of 6 warmups and 5 test matches.


(A) Tour Schedule and results:




Schedule reference:


(B) Selection and experience of English conditions:


Vijay Merchant was the chariman of selectors.


Indian Squad:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai, Abbas Ali Baig,  Syed Kirmani, P. Krishnamurthy (wk), Kinnani (wk), Kenia Jayantilal, Syed Kirmani, D Govindraj.


England Squad:

Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Geoff Boycott, Norman Gifford, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott (wk), Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton,  John Jameson, Derek Underwood, Peter Lever, Keith Fletcher.



3 players (Jeejebhoy, ML Jaisimha and Salim Durani) who were part of Indian squad to WI a month before were dropped. Farokh Engineer (wk), Kirmani (wk) Abbas Ali Baig and Chandrasekhar were picked in the squad.


Pataudi who had lost place in WI series had contested elections and was ignored for this series as well. He did not take his sacking from captaincy well at all.


Jaisimha's international career ended after having dropped for this series.

Amarnath too who played just one test (debut) in lost series against Australia in India continued to be ignored for the WI and now this England series. Amarnath was out of the teams for atleast 5 years.


Farokh Engineer had played a lot of cricket at Lancashire. In fact Lancashire declined to release Farokh for warmup matches and Farokh missed all 16 warmups. I doubt any Indian cricketer has even played half the county matches in what Farokh played apart from MAK Pataudi. From this team, Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar , Chandra, Dilip Sardesai and Bedi had toured to England in 1967. Engineer was also most experienced amongst this squad, followed by Wadekar, Sardesai, Prasanna and Bedi.


(C) Players :

Debutant series for:
England - John Jameson

India : None


Both team players were match fit having played test series shortly before this series.


Bowling attacks:

MAK had realized that there were no quality pacers and he had built the spin quartet. Bedi, Venkataraghavan, Chandrasekhar had made debuts under MAK Pataaudi's captaincy. Prasanna was the only spinner from spin quartet who had made debut under Nari Contractor's captaincy. Wadekar and other captains maintained the spin quartet attack composition they had acquired. Although Prasanna was dropped because Venkat did the job of off-spinner as well.

England on the other hand had one of the best English pace bowler ever in John Snow. He was dropped for second test due to his onfield behavior. Snow, Richard Hutton,John Price and Peter Lever formed the pace attack. Raymond Illingworth, Gifford and Underwood were the spinners.

As usual England had better pacers and India had better spin attack.


Batting lineups:
1970's was very tough decade to bat in. England had batting super stars in Amiss and Boycott. Knott was the best keeper ever.

Sunny had just one series under his belt but he was in prolific form and easily the best batsman during that year, closely followed by Dilip Sardesai as another in form batsman. Vishy was not as successful as those two in WI series.


(D) Captaincy and Team form:


Ajit Wadekar who captained in the tour to WI in 1971 and won the series, was captaining this side as well.  Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the Indian captain for that series. Prior to that, Australia had won 5 match test series against India in India by a margin of 3-1. Mansur Ali KHan Pataudi was the Indian captain for that series.


Ray Illingworth, was very experienced cricketer who graduated himself to captaincy. Under his captaincy England won the 3-match test series against WI (June - July 1969) in England by a margin of 2-0, then won the 3 match test series against NZ (July - August 1969) in England in by a margin of 2-0 followed by an Ashes win in Australia (Nov 1969 - Feb 1970) in 7 match test series by a margin of 2-0, then toured NZ (Feb - March 1971) and won the 2 match test series by a margin of 1-0 followed by test series win against Pakistan in England (June - July 1971) by a margin of 1-0. Such was England's success under captaincy of Ray Illingworth that in 17 matches he captained until this series, England had won 8 tests, drawn 9 amd lost none.


Ray Illingworth's captaincy records are too good: Tests Captained- 31, Won - 12, Lost 5, Draw - 13.

England had also whitewashed India by a margin of 3-0 on the last tour of England in 1967.

Given the aforementioned contexts, England were the strong favorites more so as they were the home team as well.



(E) Test Series :

India had played good number of warmups to get going.


1st Test:
Jul 22-27, 1971
England v India at Lord's -  Draw




England won the toss and opted to bat


England Playing 11:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Geoff Boycott, Norman Gifford, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott (wk), Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton


India Playing 11:

Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai

Raymond Illingworth won the toss and opted to bat first. As it was more often than not, Wadekar had lost the toss again.

Abid Ali opened the bowling for India. He strucky early as Boycott edged one to Farokh on Abid Ali's bowling. A very big wicket that. Bedi and Chandra then took two wickets each and England at home were reduced to 71/5. Thec came the partnership of Illingworth and Alan Knott which stopped the collapse as they put on 90 runs. To everyones surprise the top scorer was pacer John Snow who scored 73 - this 73 remains Snow's career best test score. England had managed to fightback with first innings total of 304. Apart from the wicket of Boycott taken by Abid Ali, the remaining wickets had fell to the 3 spinners (Bedi -4, Chandra - 3, Venkat - 2).

In the Indian first innings, Ashok Mankad and Sunny were dismissed very cheaply. Wadekar scored a wonderful 85, which was the best innnings for India in this test.He was well supported by Vishy (68), Engineer (28) and Solkar (67). India had taken first innings lead of 9 runs haveing replied with score of 314.


England's struggle against spin was worse in second innings. Indian spinners took 9 wickets (Venkat - 4, Chandra - 2 and Bedi - 2) in this innings as well to dismiss them for 191. India had to score 183 to win.


Ashok Mankad, the opener, edged one to Knott off Snow's bowling. Wadekar was dismissed early as well as India were 21/2. Sunny top scored in this innings with a well made 53. In his partnership with Farokh Engineer, John Snow the wel built bowler had pushed Sunny while runnung even though Sunny was not stopping Snow from being in path of the ball. Sunny fell down. This incident was taken badly and England management dropped John Snow from the second test for this unacceptable behavior on field. Though Snow apologized to Sunny, England think tank sacked him for next test. Farokh had counter attacked scoring 35 of 40 balls. Vishy, Sardesai ,Solkar, Abid Ali and Venkat were dismissed cheaply. The rain meanwhile had interfered as India needed to score 38 with two wickets left. The match was interstingly poised with Solkar still there who used to score fighting 50's as we have seen previously. However, there was no play post tea on the final day and the match ended in a draw.


2nd Test:
Aug 5-10, 1971
England v India at Manchester - Draw




England won the toss and opted to bat.


England Playing 11:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Norman Gifford, Basil D Oliveira, Alan Knott (wk), Keith Fletcher, Brian Luckhurst, Peter Lever, Richard Hutton, John Jameson

India Playing 11:

Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai


Wadekar lost the toss...yet again. Illingworth opted to bat first.


For England, Boycott and Amiss were replaced by Jameson and Keith Fletcher. Snow was sacked as disciplinary measure of pushing Sunny. Petr Lever the home bowler at this ground replaced Snow.
India retained all players who played in first test.

Abid Ali bowled a maginificent first spell claiming three wickets in two overs, reducing England to 25/3. He followed this with another wicket of Basil D'Oliveira and England were reeling at 41/4. The partnership between opener Luckhurst and keeper Knott took England to 116/5 as Venkat claimed the wicket of Knott. Raymond Illingworth made 107 and Luckhurst did his part with a well made 78 when Indian bowlers were well on top as wicktes tumbled at other end. Umpiring decisions came under scanner though in Illingworth's knock. Home player and a captain. Like Snow did in previous test, here Lever scored 88 not out which is his career best score in test cricket.England were steered safe to 386 after the top order collapse courtesy good knocks by Luckhurst, Illingworth and Lever. Abid Ali was pick of the bolwers with 4 wickets in his devastating first spell. if onyl spinners had supported him in this test and made advantage of the collapse he had triggered.


India lost Ashok Mankad early. Sunny though as usual put a price on his wicket and scored 57. These were testing conditions with rain falling before the start of the day with pace and swing on offer. Apart from Sunny, only Eknath Solkar managed to score a 50. Sunny had showed his class yet again when the conditions favored pacers overseas hugely. Lever on his home ground had taken 5/70 as India scored 212. Pace wise Price was faster though than Peter Lever. Apart from Sunny and Solkar, nobody stood up. England had a massive lead of 174 runs.

Luckhurst continued his fine form with a 101. Edrich supported with 59 and Illingworth scored a 16 ball 23 as England declared on 245/3. India were set a daunting target of 420 runs. India were 65/3 at Stumps on Day 4. There was no play on Day 5 and rain had saved this test for India.


3rd Test:
Aug 19-24, 1971
England v India at The Oval - India won by 4 wickets



Rain had interferred in both previous tests:
Test 1: No play happened on Day 5 post tea as India needed 38 runs to win with two wickets left. Both teams could have won this.

Test 2: All of Day 5 was washed out due to rain with India needing to score 355 runs more and 7 wickets left. England were favorites given the conditions, the bowlers who could exploit the overcast conditions and number of runs required.


England won the toss and opted to bat


England Playing 11:

Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Derek Underwood, Alan Knott (wk), Keith Fletcher, Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton, John Jameson.


India Playing 11:

Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai.


Illingworth had won three tosses in row. Wadekar as more often than not had lost yet another toss. Illingworth opted to bat first.


Snow replaced Peter Lever who was outstanding in second test with a 5/70. Dered Underwood replaced spinner Gifford.

India played same team for third time in this series.


Abid Ali and Solkar opened the bowling innings. It was Solkar though, this time, who picked the early wicket of in-form Luckhurst for just 1 run in his very first over. Jameson and Edrich scored a partnership of 106 runs - England being 112/2 when Edrich was dismissed. Jameson was run out for 82. Few wickets fell in frequent intervals as England score stood at 175/6. Knott (90) and Hutton (81) heped England recover the innings to respectable 355. Solakr had grabbed 3 wickets and Chandra, Bedi, Venkat with 2 each. 1 (Jameson) was run-out.


There was no play on Day 2 due to rain.


Price and Snow claimed one wicket each as both Indian openers were out chepaly. India were 21/2. Sardesai made a fighting 54 as Wadekar accompanied him with 48 runs, Vishy was out for a duck. Solkar yet again chipped in with handy 44 while Engineer was highest scorer for India in this innings with a score of 59. Abid Ali and Venkat too made handy contributions. India were all out for 284, giving England a lead of 71 runs.

The twist was about to happen. Chandra took 6/38 in 18.1 overs. I have this as my choice of best bowling ever by Chandra. English conditions, decider test, team totally struggling with a massive lead only for a spinner to wreck havoc. The top score for England was 33 by opener Luckhurst who too was dismissed by Chandra.Venkat supported Chandra with 2/44. England were all out for 101 giving India a target of 173.


All looked good until, Sunny was LBW to Snow for a duck and Ashok Mankad out for 11. 37/2. India were 95/2 at stumps of Day 4. Next day Wadekar continued and played captains innings top scoring with 45. Sardesai was second best run scorer with 40 and Vishy third best with 33. At lunch India needed 25 to win with Vishy and Engineer at crease. With 4 runs required, a very part time bowler (probably even lesser than that if there is any) had Vishy caught by Knott. His only test wicket ever and he picked a very good batsman. Meanwhile Engineer had chipped in with 28 till then and remained not out with Abid Ali hitting the winning boundar remaining not out on 4.


The clippings of crowd lifting both batsmen were awesome. First ever victory for India over England in England. India had won three overseas test series in about 3 years. NZ (1968), WI (1971), England (1971).

(F) Career impacts:
(1)John Jameson was dropped post this series and he played only one test later after couple of years in 1974. He played only one test though.
(2)Richard Hutton was never picked again and this series ended his test career.

(G) Notable events:

(1) India's first test win in England as well as first test series win in England.

(2) FC matches: Played 16, Won 6, Lost 1, Drawn 9.

(3) Tests: Played 3, Won 1, Drawn 2.

(4) Bedi, Chandra and Venkat played all 3 tests. Out of 53 English wickets that fell in the series, the spin trio claimed 37 wickets. Medium pace of  Solkar and Abid Ali took 11 wickets. 5 wickets were effected by run-outs.

(5) Wadekar top scored for India with 204 runs in series to end up as third highest run scorer of this series from both teams.

(6) Chandra's spell won the test for India at Oval.

(7) A huge crowd attended while the team travelled from Mumbai Airport to CCI to congratulate team for winning two overseas back to back test series (West Indies & England)

(8) Standing concrete bat structure was raised in Indore to appreciate the two successive overseas test wins. Names of all cricketers in squad written with autograph of Ajit Wadekar on top. Irony was that after the loss later this structure in Indore was damaged by fans.



User Feedback

Create an account or sign in to leave a review

You need to be a member in order to leave a review

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

There are no reviews to display.

  • Create New...