100th Test between India and England, and 2000th overall

This Test was surely of great significance. The 2000th Test could not have been played at a more fitting venue than Lord’s. Two top teams, whose battle ended in a tie in ICC World Cup 2011, now squared off in the first match of a 4-Test series with the No. 1 Test rank at stake. India were the top-ranked Test side, and England were keen on that number. This was also the 100th Test being played between these two sides; to make the number game more interesting, Sachin Tendulkar went into this game with 99 international centuries. He had not scored a Test fifty at Lord’s, but the maestro had a knack of making occasions special and scripting legends, so this could have been the moment.

On this day, in 2011, the moment arrived. Leading his side for the first time at the Home of Cricket was a big moment for MS Dhoni, and he got the early advantage of winning the toss in overcast conditions and elected to bowl. India’s ace seamer Zaheer Khan, who had been brilliant in the World Cup and one of the stars in India’s win in England in 2007, bowled a probing spell. Alastair Cook was in discomfort and got dismissed as the left-armer’s first spell read 7-3-9-1. England went to lunch at 43 for 1; Zaheer started by sending 4 maidens and then seeing the back of English skipper Andrew Strauss.

It was in his third spell when a hamstring trouble ended Zaheer’s participation in the Test; it proved serious enough to rule him out of the series. When Dhoni removed his gloves to bowl his gentle medium-pace on Day 1 of an important series, it was evident that England had gained the upper hand psychologically. ALSO READ: Ravi Shastri and Nasser Hussain: When DRS caused a rift between two commentators

However, Dhoni did have his moments, or he thought so. He thought Kevin Pietersen had nicked one behind off his bowling and Billy Bowden ruled it out. Pietersen immediately reviewed the decision, and the sound turned out to be that of his bat flicking the pad. The decision was overturned, and Pietersen scored an unbeaten double-ton as England declared on 474. Dhoni’s delight (alas, in vain) is well captured in the picture above.

Riding on a Rahul Dravid hundred, India managed 286 in the first innings. India had England reeling at 62 for 5 in the second innings but a partnership of 162 between Matt Prior and Stuart Broad put the hosts on top. READ MORE: Rahul Dravid remembers the day when he stood tall amid English storm

Eventually set a target of 458, India were bowled out on the final day for 261. Injuries did not help them either. After Zaheer, Gautam Gambhir joined the list when he received a blow on his left elbow while fielding at short-leg off a full-blooded Prior sweep. There was no fairytale from Tendulkar either, who managed 46 from both the innings.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad in particular proved to be too good for the ageing visiting Indian side, who went on to lose the series 0-4 and in turn lost their Test mace.

Brief scores

England 474 for 8 dec (Jonathan Trott 70, Kevin Pietersen 202*, Ian Bell 45, Matt Prior 71; Praveen Kumar 5 for 106) & 269 for 6 dec (Matt Prior 103*, Stuart Broad 74; Ishant Sharma 4 for 79) bt India 286 (Abhinav Mukund 49, Rahul Dravid 103*; Chris Tremlett 3 for 80, Stuart Broad 4 for 37) & 261 (VVS Laxman 56, Suresh Raina 78; James Anderson 5 for 65, Stuart Broad 3 for 57) by 196 runs.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)