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This Day in 1952: Revisiting the historic moment of India’s first victory in Test cricket

When the Indian team went ahead with the 5th test match against the visiting side, it was more than determined to win and level the series. History was in the making at the Madras Cricket Club ground in Chepauk in Tamil Nadu.

The day was February 10, 1952. India had been up against a formidable England team that managed to clinch 1-0 in 4 Test matches, despite unfamiliar conditions.

When the Indian team went ahead with the 5th test match against the visiting side, it was more than determined to win and level the series. History was in the making at the Madras Cricket Club ground in Chepauk in Tamil Nadu.

The Indian team featured stalwarts such as Lala Amarnath, Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare, Mushtaq Ali, Pankaj Roy, and CD Gopinath and they did not disappoint. Vinoo Mankad managed to rip through the English batting order and took 8 wickets in the process.

Screengrab of the scorecard via Espn Cricinfo

Although English batters Dick Spooner and Jack Robertson put up a good fight, the team was restricted to a paltry 266. India took the visitors head-on and posted a mammoth score of 457 runs at the loss of 9 wickets by the end of Day 3.

Middle-order batsman Polly Umrigar remained unbeaten at 130 while opener Pankaj Roy posted 111 runs on the board for the team. With conditions favouring spin, India decided to declare just before the end of the day’s play.

England managed to put up a score of 12 runs without the loss of any wickets. When the team came in to bat on Day 4, the Indian side was on its way to creating history. Until then, it had been almost 20 years since the country played its first Test match.

Bowling performance of Indian crickets in 2nd innings via Espn Cricinfo

Indian cricket fans were waiting in anticipation of the country’s first-ever win. Off-spinner Ghulam Ahmed took 4 wickets and conceded only 77 runs in 26 overs. Bowlers Dattu Phadkar and Ramesh Divecha took 1 wicket each.

Vinoo Mankad, known for his magical orthodox spin bowling, stood up to the occasion and took 3 wickets. It was the 75th over of England’s 2nd innings and the visiting side managed to put 186 runs on the scoreboard.

The team had lost 9 wickets and was short by 8 runs, with another innings remaining for the Indian side. The victory was imminent. On the last ball of the 75th over, Vinoo Mankad took the wicket of Brian Statham. CD Gopinath took the winning catch and the ball as a souvenir.

The hosts had defeated England, the country which invented the sport in the first place. And the decisive victory ushered into a new era for Indian cricket.

While recounting the experience, CD Gopinath told Sportstar last year, “Looking back, the first Test victory and being part of that, no matter what role you played, was the highlight of my career.”

He added, “In 1952 when we won that Test match in Madras, it was a great surprise even to us. Hence, the victory was so much more exciting and sweeter. Probably for the first time, we believed that we could beat a side that was stronger than us. It ushered in a new way of thinking.

CD Gopinath narrated, “I got the ball signed by my teammates…but it has been almost 70 years since, you know…the signatures have all worn off.” It has been 71 years since that red-lettered day and Indian cricket has evolved by leaps and bounds.

The current generation of cricketers owes it to CD Gopinath and his 1952 team, who paved the way for the meteoric rise of Indian cricket on the world stage.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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