A brief history - 1932-1974

A history of England v India

Martin Williamson

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Part Two: 1976-1996
Part Three: 2001-

Although Test matches between England and India did not begin until 1932, relations between the two countries go back much further than that. In 1888-89 GF Vernon took a side to India, and in 1892-93 Lord Hawke headed another tour. Indian sides also visited Britain before the first official series.

1932 (England)
India's first Test was the highpoint of a long tour in which they won many friends. Politics dictated that the Maharajah of Porbandar led the side - surely one of the least able cricketers to have played in a Test - but at Lord's India made a good start which they failed to capitalise on, chasing 346, and lost by 158 runs.
England 1 India 0

1933-34 (India)
England paid India the respect of sending a strong side under Douglas Jardine - it was not uncommon for weak sides to be sent abroad, especially either side of an Ashes tour - and they proved too good for India whose batsmen struggled and never passed 258. Decisive wins came in two of the Tests and England held a big advantage in the drawn game at Calcutta until the loss of two wickets spoiled the final position, but, unlike the previous side which went through a heavy programme without a reverse, Jardine's team suffered defeat by Vizianagram by 14 runs. It was noted that many of the regional matches were played against the same players time and time again, with one of the England squad commenting a few of them traveled as if they were part of the tour squad.
India 0 England 2 Drawn 1

1936 (England)
India's performances gained them a full tour and three Tests, but their chances were severely hampered when Lala Amarnath was sent home for disciplinary reasons before the first Test. India won only four of 28 matches. Wisden noted: "Some very good players were sent but they did not blend and the lack of team work offset the value of individual performances." England won the Lord's and Oval Tests by nine wickets, but India dug deep at Old Trafford and, facing a first-innings arrears of 368, scored 390 for 5 with hundreds from Vijay Merchant and Mushtaq Ahmed.
England 2 India 0 Drawn 1

1939-40 (India)
England went so far as to name a side to tour but the outbreak of war in September 1939 meant that this was cancelled.

1946 (England)
India, against a backdrop of political tension at home, were most welcome visitors for the first post-war tour, but conditions were hard and the summer was dogged by poor weather. Despite this, they won 11 and lost only four of their 29 first-class matches. The only Test result came in the opening Test at Lord's when Alec Bedser took 11 for 145 on his debut as England won by 10 wickets. Vijay Merchant was outstanding, scoring 2385 runs at 74.53 while Vinoo Mankad took 129 wickets.
England 1 India 0 Drawn 2

1951-52 (India)
India made history in the final Test at Madras when they thrashed England by an innings and eight runs to square the series. England fielded what Wisden described as a second-string side, but India deserved their success nevertheless. Slow pitches dulled England's quick men and their spinners were most disappointing. India, for the most part, looked a better balanced side, with strength in batting making them extremely difficult to dismiss cheaply. Pankaj Roy, a definite discovery, scored more runs than any other Indian batsman in a Test series against England (382) and Vijay Hazare made centuries in the first two Tests. The first three Tests were drawn , although India controlled the first two, but at Kanpur England took the lead with an eight-wicket win as Malcolm Hilton and Roy Tattersall, the spinners, found form. But at Madras, 12 wickets from Vinoo Mankad gave India their first Test win over England.
India 1 England 1 Drawn 3

1952 (England)
A weakened Indian side - Merchant, Amarnath and Mushtaq Ali were absent and Vinoo Mankad joined the tour late - struggled with English conditions and paid for a defensive approach which meant 20 of the 29 matches they played were drawn. Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser were too powerful, and India's safety-first strategy actually caused more problems. In the first Test at Leeds, with a first-innings deficit of 41, they were reduced to 0 for 4, losing by seven wickets, and they never really recovered for the rest of the series. England went two-up at Lords despite a tremendous allround effort from Mankad, who scored 71 and 184 and took 5 for 196 in 73 overs. Trueman blew India away at Old Trafford with 8 for 31 in a total of 58, and when they followed on they were skittled for 82, so being dismissed twice in a day. At The Oval rain saved India from a whitewash, but not before Trueman and Bedser had shared ten wickets as India were bowled out for 98.
England 3 India 0 Drawn 0

1959 (England)
It was seven years before the teams met again, but the result was every bit as one-sided and England completed their first series whitewash, winning all five Tests. If the 1952 side had been negative, this one was even worse. Three of England's wins were by an innings, the others by eight wickets and 171 runs. Trueman again, this time with Brian Statham, did most of the damage with the ball while Peter May, Colin Cowdrey, Ken Barrington and Geoff Pullar filled their boots with the bat. Only in the fourth Test at Old Trafford did India show real fight. Set an impossible 548 to win, hundreds from AA Baig, recruited during the tour and Umrigar, gave them respectability.
England 4 India 0 Drawn 1

1961-62 (India)
In contrast to 1959, India outperformed England to win their first Test series against them. England, admittedly without Cowdrey, Statham and Trueman, paid for unreliable batting and unpenetrative bowling. At Bombay, England began well by scoring 500 for 8, but India saved the game with ease. At Kanpur, England were made to follow on for the first time by India, but they too salvaged a draw. Rain washed out the last two days at New Delhi, but at Calcutta India romped to a 187-run win, and they wrapped up a 2-0 series victory at Madras thanks to ten wickets from Salim Durani and a hundred from the Nawab of Pataudi.
India 2 England 0 Drawn 3

1963-64 (India)
A five-draw stalemate on pitches that flattered the batsman and broke bowlers' hearts. England did struggle with injury and were forced to send for Cowdrey and Peter Parfitt during the tour. Cowdrey responded with England's first hundred of the series in the third Test at Calcutta and he followed with 151 at New Delhi. At Kanpur, England sniffed a possible win when Parfitt and Barry Knight scored hundreds and Fred Titmus took 6 for 73 to make India follow on, but a hundred from Bapu Nadkarni ensured the deadlock remained.
India 0 England 0 Drawn 5

1967 (England)
India's first split tour - the summer was shared with Pakistan - and a young and fairly inexperienced side were unfortunate enough to get the worst of cold and wet conditions, as well as suffering badly from injuries. Only at Headingley, where they scored 510 following on, did they acquit themselves and even then England went on to win by six wickets. In that Test Geoff Boycott made 246 not out and was dropped for slow scoring. At Lord's they were bowled out for 152 and 100 and at Edgbaston for 92 and 277.
England 3 India 0 Drawn 0

1971 (England)
England had no answer to India's three-pronged spin attack of Bishen Bedi (11 wickets), Chandrasekar (13) and Venkataragahavan (13) who caused problems in all three Tests. On the tour as whole, these three, plus Erapalli Prasanna, took 197 of the 244 wickets to fall. At Lord's, India ended 38 runs from victory with two wickets in hand, but it took a career-best 73 from John Snow to save England. At Old Trafford, it was India's turn to struggle as rain came to their aid, finishing on 65 for 3 chasing a target of 420. But at The Oval, India chased 173 with four wickets in hand despite surrendering a first-innings deficit of 71. Chandrasekar took 6 for 38 to bowl England out for 101 and so win the match and the series, and so spark massive celebrations back home.
England 0 India 1 Drawn 2

1972-73 (India)
Again it was India's spinners who caused England the most problems and it was not until the end of the tour that a below-strength side came to terms with them. In the five Tests only three England wickets fell to pace. England started with a win in Tony Lewis's first match as captain, Tony Greig making 68 not out and 70 not out and Geoff Arnold grabbing nine wickets. In the next two Tests India's spinners were in charge to secure wins by 28 runs and four wickets with Chandrasekar taking nine and seven wickets, but England rued letting winnings positions slip in both games. The final two Tests of the series were high-scoring draws.
India 2 England 1 Drawn 2

1974 (England)
India had been the unofficial world champions for the early 1970s, but the 0-3 defeat marked the end of an era of unprecedented success in Test cricket. In the three years preceding, India had won all the three series they contested - two of them abroad. Of their previous 13 Test matches, four were won and only one lost. The weather was outrageously unkind to the tourists while they prepared for the Test Series. It was at its coldest and wettest during the opening Test, at Old Trafford. But the weather was by no means the decisive factor. The team had its shortcomings and the England played the tried and trusted Indian spinners with confidence. At Old Trafford, England won by 113 runs. At Lord's, England scored 629 and then India were bowled out for 42 in a session in their second innings. In the final match, England lost only two wickets as they won by an innings.
Tests: England 3 India 0 Drawn 0
ODIs: England 2 India 0

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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