London, Sep 2 (IANS) One of India’s most glorious cricketing moments came in 1971 at The Oval when the Ajit Wadekar-led side recorded country’s first-ever Test and series win in England. Fifty years down the line, the Indian team is putting up a timid show against England seamers at the same venue.
The past month has witnessed reams being published over the historic four-wicket surprise win 50 years ago.
Among the pitches in England, the one at The Oval is the most batting-friendly. So it came as massive surprise that Indian batting crumbled the way it did, showing not a semblance of feet movement.
In fact, if India aren’t able to fight back in the ongoing Test, this will be yet another instance of India returning from the venue without a Test win.
The 1971 Test win is the only win India have registered at the venue.
Before this match, India had played 13 Tests losing five and drawing seven apart from that solitary win.
One of the things that stood out in that 1971 Test was the way the middle and lower middle-order bailed India out once the openers were dismissed cheaply.
Both openers Sunil Gavaskar and Ashok Mankad failed to get going in both the innings but the middle-order batsmen Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai, Gundappa Viswanath, Eknath Solkar, Farokh Engineer, Abid Ali and even S Venkataraghavan chipped in runs at various stages of the match to keep India in the game.
India managed to score 284 in the first innings and chase down 173, losing just six wickets in the final innings.
In the ongoing Test on Thursday, the first day, India were reduced to 127/7 with only Virat Kohli scoring 50. Only Shardul Thakur’s late onslaught took India past 180.