Specials – England in Chepauk Tests, Part 2

Having revisited England’s first three Tests at Chepauk in the first of this three-part series, we move on further through the 1970s and into the 1980s in the second part.  

A commanding series success – Third Test, 1976-77

Holding a lead of 2-0, England pocketed the series with two matches left. They won the toss on a pitch with uneven bounce, but slumped to 31/3. Roger Tolchard retired hurt two runs later, at which point Mike Brearley (59) and captain Tony Greig (54*) joined for a stand of 109.Wicketkeeper Alan Knott chipped in with 45, even as Greig’s opposite number Bishan Singh Bedi (4/72) chipped away with his left-arm spin.

The innings closed at 262, which was to be the highest total of the Test by far. India had an even worse start, crashing to 17/3 against the pace duo of Chris Old and John Lever. Left-armer Lever ended up as the wrecker-in-chief with 5/59, as India conceded a substantial lead of 98. The innings was marred by controversy, when Lever was alleged to have made use of Vaseline to alter the condition of the ball.

Leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (5/50) and off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna (4/55) combined to bowl England out for 185, but a target of 284 was going to be a tall order. After Dilip Vengsarkar retired hurt, India caved in from 40/0 to 83 all out, then their lowest total at home. The pick of the bowlers was left-arm spinner Derek Underwood (4/28). This 200-run victory gave England only their second series triumph in India.

Viswanath shines in stalemate – Fifth Test, 1981-82

The streak of draws in the six-match series continued – India had prevailed in the first Test and would win the rubber 1-0. England scalped the openers to make the score 51/2, but Vengsarkar (71) put on 99 with Gundappa Viswanath before retiring hurt, bringing Yashpal Sharma to the crease. The pair shared a record stand of 316, then India’s best for the third wicket and still their all-wicket best against England.

Mike Gatting scored a career-best 207 in England’s nine-wicket win at Chepauk in 1984-85 (source – Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Sharma fell for 140, but Viswanath carried on to 222, then the highest score by an Indian against England. Replying to India’s 481/4, openers Graham Gooch (127) and Chris Tavare put on 155. England were 279/3 late on the fourth day, but were bowled out for 328 early on the final day, left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi returning a tidy 4/69. India declared for the second time at 160/3, with debutant Pranab Roy scoring 60*.

Foster, Fowler and Gatting script famous win – Fourth Test, 1984-85

The five-match series was well poised at 1-1. Fine swing bowling from Neil Foster, playing his first Test in India, got rid of captain Sunil Gavaskar and Vengsarkar, which contributed towards reducing India to 45/3. Mohinder Amarnath (78) added 110 for the fourth wicket with Mohammad Azharuddin, while Kapil Dev hit a brisk 53. But Foster (6/104) kept striking to ensure that the hosts were restricted to 272.

The English top order cashed in on better batting conditions and poor Indian fielding. The left-handed Graeme Fowler added 178 with Tim Robinson (74) for the first wicket and 241 with Mike Gatting for the second, before falling for 201. Gatting piled the runs in a fourth-wicket stand of 144 with Allan Lamb (62), helping himself to 207, a career-best performance like Fowler’s. England declared at a colossal 652/7.

This is England’s highest total in India and the highest by a visiting team in a winning cause in India. The efforts of Amarnath (95), Azharuddin (105) and Syed Kirmani (75) were not enough, as Foster took 5/59 to notch his only Test ten-for. England duly achieved the target of 33 to win by nine wickets. The last Test was drawn, meaning that England became the first visiting side to win a series in India after being behind.

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