Team India keep date with history

India's series win against England was indeed a memorable Test series which had all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster.

updated: August 18, 2007 11:00 IST
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New Delhi:

India's series win against England was indeed a memorable Test series which had all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster.

If it was Sabina Park in 2006, it's The Brit Oval in 2007. Rahul Dravid and his men re-wrote history books with India's first Test series win in England since 1986.

Their party though was nearly spoiled at the start of the series. England just a wicket away from victory in the first Test at the Lord's before MS Dhoni, rain and light meters came to India's rescue.

That chance came in the second Test at Trent Bridge. The Indians looked a totally different outfit. Break-dance champion Sreesanth led the charge with his on-field antics.

Fellow pacer Zaheer Khan, who took nine wickets in the match, was meanwhile more in news for brandishing his bat in the direction of Kevin Pietersen - the infamous episode now better known as 'jellygate.'

But, the Indians still managed to script a seven-wicket win. That despite Michael Vaughan's 124-run innings and umpire Simon Taufel's two horrendous decisions - one of which denied Sachin Tendulkar his 38th Test century.

"I think jellygate was a little stupid incident on Zaheer Khan's part and English's part because it was made to look out larger than it was. Yes umpiring decisions have been terrible in this series because umpires can have a bad day, they are also human beings, but there were too many mistakes in this series. But with the series going India's way, we've been lucky with most of the decisions," said Ajay Jadeja, former Test player.

The Indians went into the final Test at the Oval with a 1-0 lead and were immediately reminded of Melbourne, Lahore and Durban where they had frittered away the advantage after leading a Test series in recent past.

But, this team was different. It had a reliable opening pair in Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik.

"It was to me the real foundation of India winning this series. The openers being consistent throughout the series. It is very rare and I can remember that probably Australia was the only instance where Akaash Chopra and Virender Sehwag gave you those rousing starts," said Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Test player.

Consistency was however something which was still missing in the decisions made by the umpires.

After Taufel, it was South African Ian Howell who invited the ire of both teams with some dubious decisions in the series decider.

But, the Indians recovered time and again to remain focused on their ultimate goal. The final punch provided by a 36-year-old Anil Kumble completely stole the show at the Oval.

It was not just with his maiden Test century, the only one scored by an Indian in the series, but also his record breaking show with the ball, which saw him climb to the No 3 spot in the list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket.