These days ‘revenge’ tourism is fast gaining in the currency as people are relentlessly travelling to thwart the negativities arising out of the constant Covid-induced lockdowns. The same phenomenon is finding resonance in the sporting arena as well, especially in cricket, albeit in a different way. The India-England series staring tomorrow at Trent Bridge, August 4, is nothing but an opportunity for the former to avenge the humiliation they suffered on the rank turners in India just a few months back. Pitch at the Trent Bridge has a lush green look to it and it is pretty much evident that England want to subject Indian batsmen with chin music this time around. For Indian captain Virat Kohli, this is a crucial series as one more bad outing on foreign shores can trigger questions regarding his leadership abilities. On foreign tours, India batters have let the team down on several occasions in the past, including the captain himself. So, the Indian batsmen need to get off the blocks quickly this time around to challenge the host team. This is not a tough task as there have been some gritty knocks down the years against the same opposition to seek inspiration for the current series. So, let us relive some of the finest knocks by Indian batsmen against the England team at crucial points.
Rahul Dravid (115) Trent Bridge 2002
India were one down against England in the series, so this Test was critical to visitors’ fortunes. In the second essay, India had a mountain to climb to make the England bat again and an innings defeat loomed largely but the ‘Wall’ of India Rahul Dravid, spoiled the party of captain Nasir Hussain and company with a dogmatic 115 in the second innings and rescued India from a precarious scenario. Captain Saurav Ganguly (99) and Sachin Tendulkar (92) also were instrumental in salvaging a draw, but it was Dravid who showed how to bat when defeat and draw are the only options in front of you in a Test match.
Anil Kumble (110 N.O.) Oval 2007
It was the final Test and visitors (India) were leading the series 1-0. India posted a phenomenal 664 batting first with everyone from Sachin, Kartik, Laxman to Dhoni scoring 50’s but none getting into the triple figures. However, it was Anil Kumble’s knock that stood out as he scored a century batting with tailenders, who just can’t bat to save their lives. The match was drawn, but India won the series with Kumble being the only centurion for India.
Sachin Tendulkar (103 N.O.) Chennai 2008
The scenario was quite tricky as India had to chase down 387 on the final day with both English spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in ominous form. On top of it, the heat in Chennai can be too much to handle for anyone, be it Indian or Englishmen. However, the unthinkable happened as Sachin scored an unbeaten 103 and stayed till the end to chase down a competitive score on a spin-friendly track along with Yuvraj Singh (85 N.O). Of course, Virender Sehwag (83) and Gautam Gambhir (66) set up the chase nicely for India as the openers.
Ajinkya Rahane (103) Lord’s 2014
This series is known more for Virat’s struggle against James Anderson, so Rahane’s match-winning century in the first innings got lost in the noises of the high-profile debacle. Apart from scoring a century, the current vice-captain also averted a middle-order collapse and stitched together a 90 runs partnership with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar to help India post a fighting 295. India won the match but lost the series 3-1and had it not been for Rahane the scoreline would easily have been 4-0.
Rohit Sharma (161) Chennai 2021
This was a home series and India were in a spot of bother after losing the first Test. The host had to reverse the tide to keep alive their chances of pocketing the series and the pitch seemed like a spitting Cobra even on the first day of the Test itself. However, the Hitman with his “taking the bull by its horn” approach scored a mammoth 161to help India post a formidable total of 329. Eventually, Rohit’s knock turned out to be a match-defining one as England struggled on a highly deteriorating pitch and lost the Test match.