Victories in a Test match were hard to come by for an Indian cricket team known for their habit of drawing matches. Wins on foreign territories were rarer.
In the summer of 1986, India toured England under Kapil Dev’s captaincy. Without a win in 20 Test matches under their World Cup-winning leader, India had lost six matches but drawn on 14 occasions. On English soil, India had failed to win any of their last ten matches, a run that stretched back to 1971.
Pause, rewind, play
Trip down memory lane.
In the first Test at Lord’s, India’s wretched record away from home was expected to continue.
Electing to field after winning the toss, India did a great job restricting England to 294 despite Graham Gooch’s century. Chetan Sharma starred for the visitors with bowling figures of 5/64.
In reply, India’ top order fired as the team posted 341 thanks to a fantastic century by Dilip Vengsarkar. Hitting fourteen boundaries in the innings, he scored 126 off 316 deliveries to take India to 341 and give them a 47-run lead.
In the second innings, Kapil Dev ran through the English top order to leave the hosts reeling at 35/3. Allan Lamb and Mike Gatting provided some resistance. Chetan Sharma dismissed Gatting and Ravi Shastri sent Lamb back. Maninder Singh and Dev combined to clean up the English tail.
With England bowled out for 180, India needed 134 runs for victory. India made hard work of the chase, losing wickets at regular intervals. But Vengsarkar steadied the ship before Kapil Dev’s whirlwind 23 off 10 deliveries sealed a famous victory for the Indian team.
Fifty four* years after playing at the famous venue for the first time, India had registered their first-ever victory at Lord’s. Kapil Dev tasted victory for the first time in Test cricket as a captain after a run of 20 matches without a win.
It was, of course, an extra special Test for Vengsarkar as had scored a century on each of his two previous Tests at the “Home of Cricket”, but third time was the charm for him. He remains the only non-English batsman to have scored three Test centuries at Lord’s to this date.
Spurred on by the success in the first Test at Lord’s, India went onto inflict a massive 279-run defeat over England in the second Test at Leeds before sealing a 2-0 series victory after a drawn third Test in Birmingham.
Corrections: The headline originally said this was India’s first win at Lord’s. It has now been updated to reflect that this was India’s first Test win at Lord’s. It was also 54 years after India started playing at Lord’s, not 75. The tour of 1911 did not have international status. You can read more about that here.