In cricket, players have always been judged by their performances away from home. The same applies to Indian spinners, as the pitches in India are tailor-made to suit their skill set. English conditions can be very alien for an Indian spinner, as they rarely get to play in green tracks in India. In this article, we will look at the top five Test bowling performances by an Indian spinner in England.
#5 Anil Kumble – 4/66, Leeds, 2002
India’s victory at Headingley under Ganguly’s captaincy is considered as the moment when India shed their “underdogs” tag in Test cricket. India scored 628 runs in the first innings and England were forced to follow on after being dismissed for 273. Kumble picked up three wickets in the second innings, but he outdid himself in the next innings to seal an innings victory for India.
At one stage England were 265 for 4 but Kumble removed centurion Nasser Hussain. Alec Stewart, who was on 47, was also caught by Dravid off Kumble’s bowling. In the end, India won by an innings and 46 runs, their second-biggest win over England to date.
#4 Ravi Ashwin – 4/62, Birmingham, 2018
Coming into this game, Ashwin was eager to prove the critics of his away record wrong. He did so in style as he bowled like a dream on a green track. In his first spell, he removed Alastair Cook with an absolute peach that castled the top of the off-stump.
In the third session of the first day, he delivered one of the best Test spells by an Indian spinner in England. Ben Stokes gave an easy catch back to Ashwin while Buttler was trapped LBW. Ashwin also picked up three wickets in the third innings of the Test, but India lost a thrilling match by 31 runs.
#3 S Venkataraghavan – 4 for 52, Lord’s 1971
1971 was a watershed year for Indian cricket, and Venkataraghavan played a vital role in India’s victories in that year. In the first Test of the England tour, India bowled first and Venkataraghavan picked up two wickets. In the third innings of the game, Venkataraghavan dismissed a well-settled Geoff Boycott. Later in the innings, he removed Alan Knott and Richard Hutton in a single spell to confirm India’s victory.
#2 Maninder Singh – 4 for 26, Leeds 1986
Maninder Singh was regarded by many as the successor to Bedi after a superb start to his Test career. A stunning performance against England in Leeds, a game which India won in less than four days, lent him further recognition. Maninder Singh came to bowl when England were reeling at 77 for 4, chasing a target of 408.
He finished off England’s lower order without much fuss. Bill Athey and John Lever were caught behind, while Derek Pringle was trapped in front of the stumps. After this stellar performance, Maninder Singh failed to live up to the hype and played only 35 Tests in his career.
#1 BS Chandrasekhar – 6 for 38, Oval 1971
India’s first-ever series win in England came courtesy of an unbelievable spell from Chandrasekhar. The first two matches of the series were drawn, and it all came down to a decider at the Oval. England took a 71 run lead by the end of India’s second innings, and it looked like another series defeat for India in England.
However, Chandrasekhar produced the best bowling performance by an Indian spinner in England. He removed John Edrich and Keith Fletcher in back-to-back deliveries, and later dismissed skipper Illingworth. The English batsmen simply could not read him, and England were all out for 101. India chased down the target of 174 and history was made.