There are few stadiums in the world which send a tingle through the spines of the cricketers. While the Eden Gardens and Melbourne Cricket ground are a couple of them, the iconic Lords stadium in England tops the charts in this aspect.
A superlative performance with either the bat or ball ensures one etches his name forever on the famous wall at the Lords. Scoring a century or bagging a 5-wicket haul at Lords makes sure forces the entire cricketing fraternity to take notice of the feat. Even players like Sachin, Lara or Ponting have no centuries at the grandest stage of all, which itself proves how difficult it is for foreign players to perform there.
Nevertheless, the Indian cricket team has many sweet memories of this ground. Over the years, Team India has experienced defeats at Lords, but they had their share of memorable moments too. In this article, we bring you the five historic Indian triumphs at the Mecca of Cricket-
1983 World Cup final
Indian cricket was never the same again after legendary Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup on June 23 in 1983. A win which inspired many youngsters to take up the sport, India got its first taste silverware thanks to a talented bunch of cricketers who conquered the mighty West Indies in the all-important final. India folded up for 183 against the fearsome Caribbean pace attack. The chase which was expected to be a cakewalk for the defending champions, turned in a horror ride as the virtual invincibles were dismissed for just 140. The standout moment of the match – Kapil Dev running towards the boundary line to take Viv Richards’ catch, a video which we still play in the loop.
First Test vs England (1986)
For long, this win stood as India’s solitary test victory at the iconic ground. After India won the toss and invited the hosts to bat, Chetan Sharma ran through the top order to reduce England to 98/4. However, opener Graham Gooch’s century ensured the Three Lions racked up 294 on board. In reply, India managed a slender lead of 47 runs after Vengsarkar’s ton made him the first overseas batsman to score three centuries at Lords. Kapil’s 4-wicket haul restricted England to 180 in 2nd innings, leaving India with a target of 134, which they chased down with relative ease.
2002 NatWest Series final
A victory which followed with skipper Sourav Ganguly taking off his jersey in the Lords balcony is still a sight to behold for many Indian fans. Andrew Flintoff’s similar act in Mumbai triggered the response from the Indian captain, but on an important note this win came courtesy a brilliant fightback from Indian youngsters – Yuvraj and Kaif.
Chasing a daunting target of 326, India were reduced to 146/5 with Ganguly, Sachin and Dravid back in the hut. However, the two newbies in Team India took up the mantle and stitched a 121-run stand to bring back the ‘Men in Blue’ in the game. Yuvi departed for 67, but Kaif’s unbeaten 87 ensured India won by 2 wickets in what was a new start to India’s cricketing journey under Sourav’s leadership.
2004 NatWest Challenge
Coming into the third match, England had already pocketed the series by winning the first two matches. Yet a lot was still left to play for as India looked to avoid the ignominy of being whitewashed. Ganguly’s 90 and 52 from Dravid were the major contributions as India were skittled out for 204. India had England on the mat in their chase, reducing them to 62/6 in less than 20 overs. A 92-run partnership between Vaughan and Giles briefly threatened to spoil India’s chances, but once both were scalped in the same over by Harbhajan Singh, it was a matter of the time before India won. An all-round bowling effort handed the visitors a win by 23 runs.
Second Test Match (2014)
After a long wait of 28 years, India finally grinded out the second test triumph at the Mecca of Cricket. The green tinge of the pitch saw India bat first after losing the toss. Majority of the batsmen failed barring the exception of Ajinkya Rahane. After India were tottering at 145/7, Jinx (103) joined hands with Bhuvneshwar Kumar to forge a 90-run stand which helped India reach a respectable total of 295.
Bhuvi’s 6/82 was not enough to prevent England from taking a lead of 24 runs which they achieved banking on Gary Ballance’s century. India’s last four wickets in the second innings added 139 runs which gave England a stiff target of 318. Thereafter it was a one-man show as Ishant Sharma single handed destroyed the hosts to carve out a famous win. Ishant’s incessant short-ball tactics reaped rich dividends as he finished with his career-best figures of 7/74 to bowl out England for 223. Though the lanky pacer was Man of the Match, Bhuvi was instrumental too in the win with 88 runs and 6 wickets.