India vs England Test Flashback: Bold captaincy decisions that went either ways

India vs England Test Flashback: Bold captaincy decisions that went either ways

The time when an Indian captain stood up to make sure they did the best thing for their team.

Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid
Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Test series against England have always been prestigious for India and have witnessed mixed success both at home and in England thus far. The match results could well be affected by some of the fascinating tactical decision taken by captains. If the moves do work, those will be applauded as brave decision and will be criticized for doing differently if they go the other way. The Indian captains during 2002 and 2006 series, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid faced contrary fates for their bold decisions.

England vs India in Leeds, 2002:

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly of India celebrates. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

India came into the 3rd Test match in Headingley after being 0-1 down in the 4-match Test series. On a seam-friendly pitch under overcast conditions, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly decided that his team will bat first. India included both the spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh with any fingers pointing out at the team’s tactics. However, the Indian unit proved all those critics wrong from the first day’s play itself.

After early wicket of Virender Sehwag, opener Sanjay Bangar and Rahul Dravid played out the tricky conditions and frustrated the England pacers. The pair shared 170 runs for the 2nd wicket but more importantly, they batted out more than 400 deliveries. Dravid shared a 150-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar with the 3rd wicket before getting out on 148. Sachin and Sourav Ganguly scored 193 and 128 respectively at the good pace to push India’s total to 628/8.

India declared their innings on the 3rd day and the hosts found themselves soon in troubles. Both the spinners took three wickets apiece as England were bowled out for only 273 in the first innings and were made to follow-on. The hosts weren’t up to the mark in the 2nd innings too as Kumble bagged a 4-wicket haul to bundled them to 309. Skipper Nasser Hussain’s 110-run knock wasn’t enough for to avoid an innings defeat. The final Test match ended in a draw as India shared the series honours.

India vs England in Mumbai, 2006:

Rahul Dravid
Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid waits at the crease (Photo Source: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

India took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match Test series with a 9-wicket win in the 2nd Test match in Mohali. In the final Test match at the Wankhede, Indian skipper Rahul Dravid elected to bowl first going with three specialist pacers accompanying Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. The strategy of using the bounce and seam movement of the pitch didn’t go well as England made 272/3 on day one with Andrew Strauss scoring a century.

India did well to remove the last seven wickets for 74 runs to keep England to 400 on 2nd day but India’s top order failed in the first innings. India were reduced to 28/3 but managed to finish on 279 with contributions from bottom half batsmen. Anil Kumble’s 4-wicket haul in the 2nd innings kept down England’s dominance who were bowled out for just 191. India walked out to chase 313 runs in the last half an hour of 4th day’s play.

Irfan Pathan got out at the end of the day after been promoted as an opener. Anil Kumble, the night-watchman, was the first to get out on the final day. Wasim Jaffer to fell cheaply before Dravid and Tendulkar stitched a 42-run stand in 15 overs before disaster struck India. The hosts lost Dravid, Sachin and Sehwag’s wickets in space of six overs and their final four wickets between 92 and 100. Shaun Udal, in last of his 4-match Test career, took a 4-wicket haul to bundle out India to 100 runs. England drew the series with a huge 212-run win in what supposed to be Rahul Dravid’s 100th Test.