Indian cricket team played their first test on 25th June 1932. It was a landmark day for any Indian cricket fan. Interestingly, on the same date after 51 years, in 1983 India won their first World Cup.
India started playing test cricket in 1932, they played only 20 tests till 1951. They lost 11 and 9 tests ended in a draw. India were still waiting for their first success in the international stage.
In October 1951, England came to India to play a five-match test series. First, three test matches of the series in Delhi, Mumbai (then Bombay) and Kolkata (then Calcutta) ended in draws. England won the 4th test at Kanpur and then teams came to Chennai (then Madras) to play the final test match of the series.
Indian cricket team made five changes from their last test squad. Vijay Manjrekar, CS Nayudu, Sadashiv Shinde, Nana Joshi, and Hemu Adhikari were replaced by Lala Amarnath, Mushtaq Ali, CD Gopinath, Ramesh Divecha and Probir Sen. England captain Donald Carr won the toss and chose to bat. However, India were on top from the beginning and Dattu Phadkar got the early wicket of Lowson. Spooner, Graveney, and Robertson made valuable contributions and at 171 for 3, England looked like taking the honours for day one. However two late wickets for India’s premier all-rounder Vinoo Mankad helped them to claw the bank and England were 224 for 5 at stumps on Day one.
During the afternoon, the news came that King George VI passed away. There was mourning in the English camp and accordingly the second day of the match was converted as a rest day.
Once the match resumed, Mankad ran through the lower order and from 224 for 5 England were all out for 266. Mankad finished with 8 wickets for 55 runs. The comeback keeper Prabir Sen finished with four stumpings in that innings.
Indian cricket team replied strongly with Pankaj Roy remained as the rock in one end. Around him there were good partnerships, Mushtaq Ali scored 22 and added 53. Hazare and Mankad also scored in the ’20s. Roy showed wonderful patience and application to score his second century of the series but once Roy and Amarnath were gone, India were at 216 for 5, a scenario close to what England was on day one. But then a new hero of Indian cricket announced himself.
Polly Umrigar, who was only retained in the team due to an injury to Adhikari, scored his maiden test century and took this match away from England. Umrigar who was going to become the leading run scorer for India established himself and some of his strokes were astonishing. He was well supported by Phadkar and the pair added 104 runs in the 6th wicket. After Phadkar, stylish Gopinath came and built another partnership with Umrigar who were already in masterful touch. India passed 400 and soon after Umrigar reached his 100. Finally, at 457/9 with Umrigar unbeaten at 130, the declaration came from captain Hazare. England openers added 12 by end of the day but it was going to be a difficult job for them.
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On 10th February 1952 which was the fourth day of the match, England lost Spooner before adding any run in the morning. The other opener was also out soon and although there was some fight from Robertson and Watkins, Indians kept taking wickets in regular intervals. Ghulam Ahmed took care of the middle order and got four wickets. The last four wickets were taken by Mankad, slowly becoming one of the top all-rounders in the world. The match was over before the tea when Hilton was stumped by Sen. It was Sen’s 5th stumping of the test match, all of which were of Mankad’s bowling.
The First Victory of the Indian Team
Indian cricket team were happy to get their first win in the 25th test but the celebration was not over the top. There was no cash award announced and players only got the match fee of Rs. 250, a number which sounds unbelievable in the current world.
India went on to win a test match against Pakistan in the same year and beat New Zealand next year. The below table shows India’s first test win details for all the countries.