Down Memory Lane: When India Chased Down 387 Against England

Chasing down target in the fourth innings of a Test match is always a tricky task. The pitch usually begins to crumble by then and if the target is significant, the batting team can get under real pressure.

10 years ago, however, Team India achieved a stunning feat by chasing down a mammoth last innings total against England. The win was very special as it came just weeks after the horrific terrorist attack in India in 2008 and gave some relief from the overall gloom that had enveloped the nation.

The 1st Test of England’s tour to India was played at Chennai. After electing to bat first England put on 316 in the first innings courtesy a fine 123 by opener Andrew Strauss. India’s response was mediocre as they struggled against England’s spinners to be bundled out for just 241, thus conceding a healthy 75-run lead.

And though India’s bowling was quite disciplined in the second innings, England still managed to post 311-9 (declare) on the board and that meant India faced a daunting task of chasing 387 in the fourth and final innings of the match.

It was a mammoth task, and given how they had performed in the first innings, they were certainly on the back foot. No one expected what came next.

After a sensational assault by opener Virender Sehwag, who smashed 83 off 68 balls with 11 fours and 4 sixes, India got just the push they needed to begin their chase. When Sehwag was dismissed, India was 117-1 in the 23rd over. After that Sachin Tendulkar carried on the work and built solid partnerships with Gautam Gambhir (66) and Yuvraj Singh (85*).

The Sachin-Yuvraj partnership, especially, took the game away from England who were trying to apply pressure on India when they were at 224-4. However, Yuvraj’s free flowing strokes and Sachin’s calculated attack, pushed England back.

The display of strokeplay was remarkable and both Sachin and Yuvraj matched each other stroke for stroke and all the English bowlers could do was shake their head in disbelief. By the closing stages, the crowd had gone wild and as Tendulkar swept Graeme Swann to fine leg to reach his 41st century and complete the six-wicket victory, the stadium erupted in joy.

It was then the fourth-highest total chased in Test cricket and had tremendous value as India were known to be poor chasers in Tests and had achieved a significant feat under tremendous pressure.

This was a victory of belief and the emergence of a new India. In the past, India would have ideally looked to eke out a draw in such a situation or would have certainly crumbled under pressure. But Sehwag’s onslaught, along with Yuvraj’s flair and Sachin’s responsibility, ensured an emphatic win for India.

After the match, Sachin dedicated this victory to the 2008 terror attack victims and was visibly extremely relived. "I've scored a hundred in the second innings, but to actually win a match, play the winning shot, that was something I wanted to do. This makes it really really special,” Sachin said post the match.

This victory would undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest and most significant moments in Indian cricket history. It was inspiring and changed the outlook of how Indian cricket was viewed throughout the world.


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