India aren’t known for being the best travellers in Test cricket and have endured their fair share of disappointments. Like most countries, the Indian Test team hasn’t always found it easy to make their mark in overseas conditions in the recent past, especially outside the subcontinent.
That said, they have produced some memorable wins away from home of late, including a first-ever series victory over Australia during their last Test tour down under. Here, we have a look at some of India’s biggest wins away from home in Tests.
318-run win against West Indies (22 August 2019)
India’s biggest Test win till date happened a year back against the West Indies at the North Sound ground. After losing the toss and being put to bat first, India were bowled out for 297 and things could have been much worse had it not been for Ajinkya Rahane’s battling 81. West Indies responded by scoring 222 before being bowled out and Ishant Sharma was the star performer for the tourists with the ball, finishing with 5-for-43 at the end of the first innings.
The tourists’ second innings saw them take control of proceedings after Rahane once again proved to be the difference with a 102, and he was well supported by Hanuma Vihari, who scored 93. Looking to save the Test somehow, the hosts collapsed, scoring just 100 as India’s pace trident of Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami breezed through their batting line-up, taking three, five and two wickets respectively. However, the Player of the Match was Rahane for his pivotal knocks in both innings.
304-run win against Sri Lanka (26 July 2017)
India’s second-biggest away win came a little over three years ago against Sri Lanka during the first Test of the tour in Galle. A 190 by Shikhar Dhawan and a 153 by Cheteshwar Pujara put the tourists firmly in charge of the contest as India went on to post a massive 600. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, crumbled during their first innings and ended up being bowled out for 291. Instead of enforcing a follow-on, India returned to the crease and piled on the misery for Sri Lanka by adding to their lead.
Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 103 and Abhinav Mukund made 81 as India posted a target of 550 to chase. Needless to say, with momentum on their side, the tourists bowled out the hosts without much trouble to record what was their biggest away victory in Tests at the time. Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella did offer some resistance by scoring 97 and 67 respectively but it wasn’t enough to prevent them from being bowled out for 245.
279-run win against England (19 June 1986)
The third-largest away Test win for India took place more than three decades ago during the second match of India’s tour of England in 1986. After winning the toss and opting to bat first at Leeds, India were bundled out for 272 in the first innings with Dilip Vengsarkar’s 61 being the top score by a batsman. To the surprise of many, England managed to score just 102 in their first innings as Roger Binny claimed a five-wicket haul, while Madan Lal took three.
India scored 237 in the second innings to extend their lead as Vengsarkar starred with an unbeaten 102 to set England a target of 408. The hosts’ response in their second innings in the Test was just as disappointing as their first, managing to score just 128 as Maninder Singh claimed four wickets and Vengsarkar was adjudged the Player of the Match.
278-run win against Sri Lanka (20 August 2015)
Two years before India’s 304-run win against Sri Lanka – their second-biggest away victory in Test history – the Men in Blue recorded a 278-run win against their neighbours at Colombo (PSS). Batting first in the second Test during their tour of the island nation, India made 393 in the first innings after the eventual Player of the Match KL Rahul scored 108, while Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha scored 78, 79 and 56 respectively. The Lankan Lions fought back in their first innings by scoring 306, which was aided by skipper Angelo Mathews’ 102.
The second innings saw India declare after getting to 325. Murali Vijay scored 83 and Rahane made 126 to help post a target of 413 for Sri Lanka to chase. Unlike their first innings, the Lankans failed to offer resistance in the second. India’s spin twins did most of the damage in the second innings with Ravichandran Ashwin taking five and Amit Mishra bagging three scalps.
272-run win against New Zealand (7 March 1968)
India’s 272-run win against New Zealand in 1968 was a memorable victory for more than one reason. Apart from the massive margin of victory in a Test away from home, the win also helped India seal the four-match series 3-1 in their favour. Put to bat after losing the toss, opener and wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer and captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi made 44 and 51 respectively as India posted 252 in the first innings.
The Kiwis’ first innings saw them struggle against India’s spinners Erapalli Prasanna and Bishan Singh Bedi. Prasanna claimed four wickets while Bedi took two as New Zealand were bowled out for a mere 140. The second innings saw India declare after making 261, with Engineer scoring 48, Rusi Surti falling one shy of a century and Chandu Borde remaining unbeaten on 65. With a target of 374 on the board, the hosts failed to make a fight of the contest in the final innings and were bowled out for 101. Prasanna and Bedi were once again tormentors-in-chief for New Zealand’s batsmen, claiming four and three wickets in the second innings respectively.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Parks / Lakrunwan Wanniarachchi