This is a historic day for Indian cricket as India breathed the air of freedom on the cricket field for the first time on this day in 1952 when India defeated England to register their first-ever Test victory. It was a special occasion for a country of limitless expanse and vast population that was still finding its feet on the cricket field.
Colonial Masters – Conquered
The English team arrived in India in November 1951 for a 5-match Test series. The two sides battled hard in the first three matches of the series but none of them could achieve a result as all the matches ended in a stalemate. However, the equations changed when the visitors registered a thumping victory in the 4th Test at Kanpur. Now the last match of the series at Madras had become a do-or-die encounter for India if they had to save the series.
When the times are tough, titans take the charge. India’s talisman Vinoo Mankad proved to be the messiah in Madras with his exceptional bowling performance. The English team elected to bat first after winning the toss and the visitors were going solid but Mankad stopped their smooth stint with the bat. He picked up 8 wickets in the first innings to restrict England to 266 runs.
With the bat, India dwarfed the opposition’s total in the first innings. Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar led the Indian onslaught and the duo scored centuries to take India beyond the 450-run mark at the end of the first innings. Well, in the second innings, the English batting order once again crumbled under the pressure exerted by Indian bowlers.
Vinoo Mankad was once again the centre of attraction but this time he was ably assisted by Ghulam Ahmed as both of them took 4 wickets each to wrap up the English innings for 183 runs. As a result of this dominating bowling display, India registered a massive victory by an innings and 8 runs. This was a watershed moment for Indian cricket and the team never looked back there onwards.