Ahead of the Royal London ODI between England and India on Thursday 14 July at Lord's, we take a look three moments that defined the visitor's history with the Home of Cricket.
1983 CRICKET WORLD CUP
The third men’s World Cup Final was expected to be a walkover. Holders West Indies were the undisputed masters of World Cricket and had never lost a single World Cup match before the tournament began. Their 34-run defeat to India in the opening match of the Group Stage was viewed not so much as a sign of vulnerability, as a motivation for revenge.
Opponents India, by contrast, had never really taken to the one-day game. Their performances in the two previous tournaments had been poor, recording just one win against East Africa. India hadn’t even hosted a single One-Day International until November 1981. Few Indian fans had bothered to buy tickets for the final, as they hadn’t expected their team to make it that far.
So when India were bowled out for just 183 – Andy Roberts claiming 3 for 32 on his final appearance at Lord’s – everything seemed to be going according to the script. But the Indian team hadn’t given up. “The wicket had a lot of juice and the ball was swinging,” recalled opening bowler Balwinder Sandhu. The holders had reached a comfortable 50 for 1 when a double strike from Madan Lal checked their progress. The second of those wickets was perhaps the most crucial, with Vivian Richards top-edging a pull, caught magnificently by a running Kapil Dev. Not only was it the wicket of the greatest batsman in the world, it was the kind of inspired moment that can galvanise a team.
West Indies never recovered from the setback. Only two more boundaries were hit in their innings. India’s medium pacers were relentless in their accuracy, backed up by tigerish fielding. And West Indies kept losing wickets, three each to Madan Lal and occasional bowler Mohinder Amarnath, whose figures of 3 for 12 earned him the Man of the Match award. It was Amarnath who finished it off, trapping Michael Holding lbw to leave West Indies 140 all out.
It was only when the players returned home that the scale of their triumph was revealed to them. “When we landed in Bombay airport, the crowd was huge and then it hit us that we have done something big for Indian cricket,” recalled Sandhu. Not only had Indian cricket shrugged off decades of diffidence and underachievement in one glorious afternoon, it had also ignited a passion for the shorter form of the game with huge consequences for how cricket is played in the 21st century.
INDIA BEAT ENGLAND IN NATWEST SERIES FINAL
A target of 326 to win a 50-over One-Day International is nothing extraordinary today.
But in 2002 such a run-chase seemed beyond all but the most inspired of batting line-ups. Only twice before had a team made over 300 in an ODI at Lord’s, and one of those had been in a 60-over contest during the 1975 World Cup. So when England racked up a total of 325 for 5 against India in the Final of that year’s triangular NatWest series at Lord’s, they looked to be sitting pretty. Halfway through India’s reply, their position seemed even more secure.
“I never believed we could win,” recalled Indian captain Sourav Ganguly later. His watching uncle, meanwhile, left the Ground, collected his car and began the long drive home up the M40. Less than an hour, and one swift u-turn later, Ganguly was rooted to his seat on the Pavilion balcony and his uncle was racing back to Lord’s as one of the most dramatic turnarounds in one-day cricket history unfolded.
The foundation of England’s innings was a second wicket partnership of 185 between Marcus Trescothick and captain Nasser Hussain. None of the Indian bowlers could stem the tide and when Trescothick fell for 115, Andrew Flintoff joined Hussain to blast 40 off 32 balls and take England past the 300 mark. India’s run-chase got off to a good start with Ganguly and Virender Sehwag putting on 109 in 14.3 overs. But then came a slump, and five wickets fell for just 40 runs in the middle of the innings. When Sachin Tendulkar was bowled by Ashley Giles for 14, India were tottering on 146 for 5.
“One [more] wicket and we would have been done,” said Ganguly later. Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif knew that as well as anyone as they joined forces for a crucial sixth-wicket partnership. Their response was all-out attack. For the next hour, they carved England’s increasingly exasperated bowlers to all parts of the Ground; 15 fours and three sixes cannoned from their bats.
On the Indian balcony tension and cricketing tradition combined. Nobody, Ganguly included, was permitted to change position. With the partnership at 121 Yuvraj fell to Paul Collingwood, but Kaif kept going, martialling the tail until India had made it home by two wickets with three balls to spare. Jubilant in his moment of victory, Ganguly ripped off his shirt and whirled it around his head. It was a celebration, and a match, that Indian fans will never forget.
Leading from the Front
India's last ODI win versus England at Lord's came in the summer of 2004, when they defeated the hosts by 23 runs.
In a match in which 20 wickets fell, it was India's captain Sourav Ganguly who guided his side to victory with an inspired innings on a tricky surface.
After winning the toss, Ganguly - opening for India - put his side into bat but they soon found themselves 48-3 when fellow batters VVS Laxman, Mohammad Kaif and Virender Sehwag lost their wicket.
A steady partnership with Rahul Dravid followed, but Ganguly's score of 90 off 119 - which included five fours and three sixes - was by far the highlight of the match as India concluded their innings with a score of 204.
In response, England themselves struggled to get going and they too relied on their captain to try and spark a victory.
After the hosts were 62-6 at one point, Michael Vaughan's performance saw him reach 74* with England needing 50 for victory and two wickets remaining.
However, a wonderful piece of wicket-keeping from Dinesh Karthik off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh saw Vaughan dismissed. Wickets for Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra followed to give India another victory at the Home of Cricket.