MS Dhoni cools his heels at Trent Bridge before the start of the first Test © Getty Images
India have played five Tests at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, winning one, losing two and drawing the other two. However, their performances aren’t reflected in those stats as they have enjoyed some success at Nottingham. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at the five Tests India have played at the venue as they gear up for the opener on the 2014 tour.
Trent Bridge is a very familiar venue for the Indians. Since 1996, they have played a Test there on each of their tours and have enjoyed some decent success. As MS Dhoni’s men prepare for their series opener this year, they may look back in time and take heart from some of India’s previous visits — though their last Test was a forgettable one. In five Tests at the venue, India have won one (2007) and lost two (in 1959 and 2011). This record doesn’t reflect India’s decent performances at the venue and one has to look at each Test to assess their outing.
Let us look back at the Tests India have played at Nottingham so far.
1959: England win by an innings and 59 runs
India started their Test series of the 1959 tour at Nottingham and it wasn’t the best start with an all-round performance from the hosts handing them a crushing defeat. Though they did manage to pick up a few wickets when England batted first, Peter May smashed a ton and three other fifties took England to 422. In reply, India managed 206 with only Pankaj Roy scoring a half-century. Fred Trueman was at it again with four for 45. India were made to follow on and were bundled out for 149; Roy was the top-scorer again with 49. This time, Brian Statham got into the act with five for 31. India went on to lose the series 5-0.
1996: Match drawn
Trent Bridge hosted India for a Test match after a gap of 47 years. It was a time when Indian cricket witnessed a change of guard, In the previous Test at Lord’s, Sourav Ganguly announced himself with a ton on debut and Rahul Dravid too made a mark with 95. In this game at Nottingham, Sachin Tendulkar also joined the party with 177. In partnership with Ganguly, he added 255 runs for the third wicket. Ganguly hit 133. Dravid walked in at No 7, with the score at 385. From there on, he anchored the innings with 84 and took India to 521. This was a sign of what lay ahead for the Indian team in the next decade. In reply, England hit 564, with skipper Michael Atherton smashing 160, and Nasser Hussain working his way to 107. The Test meandered towards a draw and England clinched the series 1-0 by virtue of their victory in the first Test at Edgbaston.
2002: Match drawn
After their famous debut in 1996, Dravid and Ganguly returned to Trent Bridge as senior men. Ganguly was now captain and Dravid, the most dependable batsman in the side, his deputy. Though India had lost the first Test at Lord’s, the mood in the camp seemed upbeat given the fight in the last innings. In the first innings, Virender Sehwag smashed his first ton as Test opener.There were contributions right through the order as India scored 357. England were led by a magnificent 197 by Michael Vaughan as they piled 617 on the board. Facing all that pressure in the second essay, India were trying to save the Test. Having lost two early wickets, Dravid and Tendulkar got together to put up 163. Out of that 163, Tendulkar smashed 92 before Vaughan bowled a miracle delivery to shatter his stumps. Dravid battled on and scored his first Test ton in England. Ganguly also batted with poise but was unfortunate to get bowled for 99. India managed to fight and hold on to see it through to a draw. They managed to win the next Test at Headingley and draw at The Oval. The series was drawn 1-1.
2007: India win by 7 wickets
India had escaped defeat by a whisker when the skies opened up with them being nine down on the last day at Lord’s. But, when the two sides moved to Nottingham, India had the extra punch. After putting England in to bat in moist conditions, Zaheer Khan snared four wickets and bowled them out for 198. Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik then put up a 147-run stand to get India off and running. Ganguly and Tendulkar then built a strong partnership in the middle. Tendulkar was unfortunately dismissed for 91, adjudged leg-before erroneously. India scored 481, leaving England with a huge task. Vaughan led England’s charge with a graceful ton, but his wicket opened the floodgates and Zaheer Khan snared five to leave India with a target of 73. There was some controversy in this game as England players were alleged to have thrown a few jelly beans at the wicket. That supposedly irked Zaheer and he did the trick with the ball. India won by seven wickets and drew the next Test to clinch the series 1-0.
2011: England win by 319 runs
A massive win for England in one action packed and dramatic Test match. India threatened to run through England on Day One, with the seamers reducing the hosts to 124 for eight. But then, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad wielded their willow and took England to 221. India were led by Dravid’s ton yet again and VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh scored 50s. But, after taking the lead and in a sound position at 267 for four, they collapsed to 288 all-out. Broad managed to take a hat-trick, completing six wickets. England then piled a huge score with Ian Bell smashing 159. Four other batsmen managed half-centuries, with Tim Bresnan hitting 90. England were all out for 544, leaving India with an improbable 478. Only Tendulkar fought with a half-century and Harbhajan scored a fluent 46, but India were bundled out for 159. This game is remembered for Bell’s careless walk out of the crease when he assumed it was a boundary, only to find himself run-out. India withdrew their appeal at tea. This series was dominated by England as they beat India 4-0 and became the No 1 ranked Test side.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)