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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tests at Chepauk - A trip down memory lane

Not for nothing does Chennai and specifically the MA Chidambaram stadium or Chepauk, occupy a place of pride in Indian cricketing lore. After all, it was at this very venue some 57 years ago, India posted her first ever Test victory and coincidentally, against England who are due to take on the hosts at the very venue in a fresh series beginning Thursday.

The spin combination of Vinoo Mankad, who took 12 wickets including eight for 55, and Ghulam Ahmed, besides centuries by Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar saw Vijay Hazare's India beat Donald Carr-led England by an innings and eight runs to announce their arrival on the international stage that they now dominate if only because of their financial might.

The uniqueness of Chepauk also lies in the fact that it was where the famous second tied Test was played out between India and Australia in 1986 apart from being witness to other individual feats by Indians, all part of the process that has seen cricket in the country evolving into a flourishing industry.

In the 29 Tests played at Chepauk, India have won 11 and lost six with a tie and 11 draws, thus making it a treasured venue in this context. Against England, though, the win-loss record is 3-3 from seven meetings.

Interestingly, two of India's three victories against England have been by an innings. In fact, the last time the two teams met here in 1993, India won by an innings and 22 runs with Navjot Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar blasting centuries before spinners Anil Kumble, Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan shared 19 wickets (one runout) as England fell for 286 and 252 replying to India's 560 for 6 declared.

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