Dubai: If June 25, 1983 was a red letter day in the history of Indian cricket for ‘Kapil’s Devils’ winning the World Cup, so was June 10 just three years later. It took India 11 attempts before finally beating England in a Test match at the iconic Lord’s cricket ground this day in 1986 - the same venue Kapil Dev had lifted the World Cup trophy.
The greatest allrounder ever produced by India, Kapil was again at the thick of things alongwith Dilip Vengsarkar and Chetan Sharma, the diminutive fast bowler, who played a big hand to beat the hosts emphatically by five wickets.
After being put to bat, England were restricted to just 294. Graham Gooch topscored with a fine 114 while Derek Pringle hit a half-century. Chetan, who shared the new ball with Kapil, gave India the early breakthroughs in the first innings to emerge the pick of Indian bowlers with a five-wicket haul.
Recalling his effort after 34 years, Chetan told Gulf News over phone: ‘‘I distinctly remember the Test match and must thank Desh Prem Azad, a mentor for me as well as Kapil paaji, for his valuable inputs. England were cruising along at 90-plus for one at lunch and I was not being able to make much impact during my spell from the pavilion end.
Very soon, I struck with three valuable wickets - Allan Lamb, caught brilliantly at short leg by (Kris) Srikkanth, David Gower and then got Mike Gatting bowled...It’s still a matter of joy and pride for me that whenever I visit the Lord’s, I see the board and quietly thank my coach for the feat
‘‘My childhood coach Azad - which was watching the match from the first row in the stands - beckoned to me as I was fielding at fine leg and told me that I was losing control over my body and speed while bowling down the hill from the pavilion end at the Lord’s, which had always been a challenge for the bowlers. He asked me to request Kapil to switch me to the far-end from where I would be bowling uphill - a suggestion to which the skipper readily agreed. Very soon, I struck with three valuable wickets - Allan Lamb, caught brilliantly at short leg by (Kris) Srikkanth, David Gower and then got Mike Gatting bowled,’’ the former Indian paceman said.
Chetan latter added two more wickets to make it a five-wicket haul and still cherishes the fact that his name is up there at the Hall of Fame boards at the Lord’s - with the names of centurions and bowlers with five-wickets in an innings. ‘‘It’s still a matter of joy and pride for me that whenever I visit the Lord’s, I see the board and quietly thank my coach for the feat,’’ he said.
Vengsarkar’s unbeaten century then meant India reached 341 in their first innings, taking a 47-run lead. Graham Dilley picked up four wickets for the hosts.
England, in the second innings, faired poorly as they were bundled out for just 180 with Kapil Dev getting rid of four batsmen.
As India were chasing a small target of 134, they lost four wickets for just 78 on the board and half their side at the score of 110. Kapil, the ‘Captain Courageous,’ completed his allround show by slamming 23 runs off 10 deliveries to take the visitors over the line with five wickets to spare.
This match will also be remembered for Vengsarkar’s feat who became the first cricketer to score centuries in three successive Lord’s Tests.