India beat England by 5 wickets to complete their first Test win at Lord’s

The summer of 1983 shall always remain special for Indian cricket, for it was then that a spirited team led by Kapil Dev went on to script history. The perennial underdogs India beat mighty West Indies in a David vs Goliath battle to emerge as the world champions on June 25 that year. The venue for that historic win could not have been better, as the victory came at the home of cricket — Lord’s. A couple of years later, the Indian team won the World Championship of cricket, thus confirming their status as a force-to-reckon-with in One-Day International (ODI) cricket. But there was still a long way to go for a similar recognition in Tests. ALSO READ: Shane Warne’s magical ‘ball of the century’ leaves Mike Gatting aghast.

Exactly three years later, opportunity presented itself on India’s tour to England and the Indian team grabbed it with both hands. Till June 5, 1986, India had played 10 Tests at Lord’s but had failed to win a single one. Also, they had won only a solitary match in their 32 outings on the English soil. But this record was going to change very soon. The first Test of the series started on June 5 at the iconic Lord’s and Kapil invited hosts to bat first after winning the toss. Graham Gooch and Tim Robinson opened the innings for England while Kapil and Roger Binny opened the attack for India. ALSO READ: Geoffrey Boycott scores painfully-slow double hundred and gets dropped from the team.

Indians bowled exceptionally well to restrict England to a modest 294. Gooch (114) and Derek Pringle 63 were the chief contributors while for India, Chetan Sharma was the pick-of-the-bowlers with a five-wicket haul. He was ably supported by Binny’s three wickets. In reply, riding on ‘Colonel’ Dilip Vengsarkar’s unbeaten 126, India managed to score 341 and take a slender yet vital 47-run lead. The start of England’s second innings suddenly became important in the context of the game. And even as everyone backed England to come good, they were soon reduced to 3 for 35. ALSO READ: Inaugural World Cup opens with Sunil Gavaskar’s ‘snail-slow’ 36 not out.

If India’s first innings effort was all about pace, the second innings saw a collective effort as the spinners Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri also came to the party. They shared four wickets amongst them while Kapil took as many wickets alone to bundle out England for a paltry 180. Left to chase down a paltry total of 134, India found themselves on the threshold of history. Vengsarkar (33) was once again the top-scorer as India wobbled a bit before getting past the line in style. Kapil, who was in no mood to crawl his way to the target, smacked 18 runs off Phil Edmonds’ over to finish things off. He remained unbeaten on 10-ball 23, while Shastri was the other batsman who remained unconquered.

While there were a number of contenders for the player of the match award; Sharma for his first-innings fifer and Vengsarkar for his unbeaten hundred, which also made him first to score three consecutive hundreds at Lord’s, the award eventually went to Kapil. It proved to be icing on cake for him as it was also his first Test win as India captain. The loss resulted in David Gower losing the captaincy to his deputy Mike Gatting, who led England in remaining two Tests. As it happened, India went on to win the second Test as well and a draw in the third game handed them a 2-0 series win. Gatting and Vengsarkar were declared the player of the series.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricLife and CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)