The first Test match was played between England and Australia on March 15, 1877 at Melbourne cricket ground in Australia. Now, 134 years down the line, the stage is all set to witness one of the most historic Test series where a number of milestones would be achieved when two of the greatest Test playing nations will lock their horns on July 21 at the Lord’s.
The “Mecca of cricket” will witness the 2000th Test match and it would be the hundredth Test between the numero uno Team India and England where cricket was born.
The Lord’s Test would be India’s 100th match against England. For the first time, India would be playing 100 Tests against one nation. In case of a win at Lord’s, India would set a record for most wins against one nation. India have won 20 Test matches against England.
All eyes will be on Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s much awaited 100th international century and this might be his last chance to hit his first and the only hundred at the Lord’s. Tendulkar, who hasn’t played a Test match since January this year, looked in good nick during the India’s warm up match against Somerset.
To date, the master blaster has played seven innings at this venue and aggregates 149 runs in seven innings at an average of 21.28 and his individual highest score at this venue is 37.
The Indian batting legend has scored 99 international tons including 51 centuries in 177 Tests and 48 centuries in 453 ODIs.
In the Test centuries’ record, the legend is well ahead of South African Jacques Kallis with 40 centuries in 145 Tests and Australian Ricky Ponting who has 39 tons from 152 Tests.
The former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar is on the fourth spot with 34 hundreds in 125 matches.
Cricket Pandits already believe that achieving his current milestone is a distant dream for many in this world but if he scores “Century of Centuries” at Lord’s, it would be unarguably the greatest accomplishment by any cricketer in this world.
India lost the 1996 series in England 0-1, but the golden debut of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid at Lord’s against England changed the way world looked at Indian cricket in the years to come and gave Team India courage and determination to prove its worth on foreign soil.
In this series, Ganguly went on to score a century (166) on his debut in the second Test while Dravid fell five runs short of his debut century.
Ganguly and Dravid carried on with their form in the third Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, which like the previous one was drawn. Ganguly scored another century (136) and along with Sachin Tendulkar (177) took India to a massive first innings total of 521. Dravid also scored a fine 84. Ganguly went on to lift the Man of the Match award.
The trio gave India an edge to emerge their domination on foreign soil, but this time Ganguly is not in the team.
This might be the last England outing for some of the Indian seniors which includes the middle order trio of Dravid, Sachin and Laxman.
The trio has been inseparable part of Indian Test team in last two decades.
All together they have experience of 453 Tests with 35152 runs and 99 Test centuries under their belt. This lethal Indian trio is equipped enough to kill any bowling line-up in this world and they have proved it time and again.
Last time England and India played two-match Test series in December 2008, which was won by India 1-0.
The home side England is undefeated in the last five home Test series.
India won their first series against England in 1971 banking on great individual performance of legends Bishan Singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar and Srinivas Venkatraghvan.
It took India another 15 years to win their second series against England in 1986. This time it was Dilip Vengasarkar who scored back to back centuries at Lord’s and propelled India won the three match series 2-0 against England on their soil.
Later on, India took another 21 years to win a Test series in England. This time the show was overtaken by Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan and veteran Anil Kumble who struck his maiden Test century to help India win 3 match test series 1-0 against England.
Milestones to look out for
The Lord’s Test between India and England on July 21, 2011 (Thursday) would be the 2000th Test match in the history of Test Cricket. It would be India’s historic 100th Test match against England. For the first time, India would be playing 100 Tests against one nation.
In case of a victory at Lord’s, India would set a record for most wins against one nation. India have won 20 Tests against Australia.
In case of a hundred, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar would be registering his first at Lord’s apart from the 100th international century.
The devastating English batsman Kevin Pietersen (5828 runs) requires 172 more runs to complete his 6,000 runs in Tests.
In case England opening batsman Alastair Cook scores a fifty, he would be equalling a world record for most consecutive fifties (seven), shared by Sir Everton Weekes (West Indies) between 1948 & 1949, Andy Flower (Zimbabwe) between 2000 & 2001 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) between 2006 & 2007
Indian turbunator Harbhajan Singh has captured 41 wickets (average 33.98) in 11 Tests against England. In case of just one wicket, he would be establishing an Indian record for the most wickets by an off-spinner against England. Prasanna took 41 (average 32.37) in 13 Tests against England.
After a good show against West Indies this year, VVS Laxman, in case of a hundred, would be registering his first against England. In 13 Tests, he has aggregated 584 runs at an average of 34.35, including four fifties, with a highest of 75 at Ahmedabad in December 2001.
India’s prolific Test batsman Rahul Dravid is all set to complete 1,000 runs in England. His present tally is 915 at an average of 65.35 in 9 Tests, including three hundreds and four fifties. Dravid would be the third Indian to aggregate 1,000 runs in England behind Sachin (1302) and Sunil Gavaskar (1152). Jagran