With the Olympic 2020 in full flow, sports fans, including Indians, were busy with the on-field brilliance of some of the Olympians in Tokyo. Due to the Olympic fever, the India-England Test series failed to garner a euphoric response. Such a cold response from sports enthusiasts would have been unimaginable in normal circumstances but the Olympics happens to be the biggest sporting carnival and the Tokyo games threw up some surprises as well. However, now that the Olympics events are over, it is almost assured that the focus of everyone will firmly be on the India-England Test series. The initial encounter between the erstwhile empire and its former colonial subject at Trent Bridge turned out to be a damp squib with rains robbing the match of a nail-biting result. In the match, India had to score 209 in their second essay on a pitch that was not at all easy to bat, but captain Virat Kohli feels that the weather gods ruined their chances of going one up in the five-match Test series. The small scores on last-day wickets are never easy and India have discovered the same in the past as well. Hence, let us bring back some fourth innings chases of India from the past, where they ended up on the losing side despite chasing precious little.
India’s Unsuccessful Attempts in the Fourth Innings
India V/S Pakistan (1987) Bangalore
This was the fifth and final Test of the India-Pakistan series and the team captains Kapil Dev and Imran Khan mutually decided to play on a sporting wicket considering the boredom generated in the last four encounters. Batting first Pakistan managed only 116, but they fought back well to dismiss the Indian team for a meagre 145. In the second innings, Pakistan was slightly better as they scored 249 and set India a modest but competitive total of 221. India eventually lost the Test by 17 runs as barring Sunil Gavaskar (96) none of the Indian batters showed the stomach to fight it out in the middle. For Pakistan, the two spinners, Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed took 4 wickets each in the second innings to dismiss the star-studded India lineup comprising, Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, K Srikkanth, Mohd Azharuddin etc for 204.
India V/S West Indies (1997) Barbados
The outcome at Barbados still haunts Sachin Tendulkar, the then captain of the Indian team. This was a chance to create history for India by winning a series on the Caribbean soil for the first time. Windies had given India a small total of 120 in the fourth Innings to chase down on a slippery track. However, much to the chagrin of Indian supporters the team was dismissed for a paltry 81. The West Indies fearsome pace attack comprising Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop, Merv Dillon etc broke the back of the much-vaunted Indian batting line-up boasting of Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid etc. The result remains a nightmare for all the Indian players involved in the Test even now after so many years.
India V/S Sri Lanka (2015) Galle
This happened to be one of Virat’s early assignments as a newly appointed skipper. India dominated chiefly on all four days in the first Test but due to certain dramatic turnarounds on the fourth and final days, the match slipped out of the hands of the Indians. India found themselves in an awkward situation of chasing 176, thanks to Dinesh Chandimal’s counter-attacking 162, on a dicey wicket. This was not a difficult task either considering the batting at India’s disposal but Rangana Herath’s seven wickets in the fourth innings swung the match dramatically in favour of the Lankans as they entirely dismantled India for 112.