India’s power-packed batting line-up will be aiming to show their quality when they arrive in Birmingham for Edgbaston’s Specsavers Test match in August.
With the hosts due to play their 1,000th Men’s Test, the tourists have a big point to prove in the Second City having been demolished by an innings and 242 runs on their last Test visit, in 2011.
On that occasion, Alastair Cook alone scored 294 for England but India’s much-vaunted top-order was unpicked by James Anderson as the tourists were rattled out for 224 and 244.
Anderson underlined his world-class status with a brilliant second-innings new-ball burst which took out Gautam Gambur, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman with just 56 on the board.
Roared on by the Hollies Stand in full voice, Anderson powered in to demolish one of world cricket’s top top-orders – and he was following in some famous footsteps of bowlers to have got amongst India’s batsmen at Edgbaston.
If you mention Ian Botham and great bowling feats at Edgbaston, thoughts turn principally to the Ashes of 1981, of course. But two years earlier the great all-rounder had warmed up with a devastating spell to speed England to victory over India by an innings and 79 runs.
After David Gower’s glorious double-century lifted England to 633 for five, the seamers, led by Botham, got to work. Botham, Bob Willis and Mike Hendrick shared 17 wickets in a display of skilful and disciplined bowling to which the India batsmen, the great Sunil Gavaskar apart, had no answer.
Botham swung the ball round corners for a second-innings five-for which sped England to victory on the fourth day.
India should have known what to expect, having been unpicked even more spectacularly by the England seamers at Edgbaston five years earlier. In 1974 they chose to bat and took just eight seconds to lose a wicket when Gavaskar edged Geoff Arnold to wicketkeepeer Alan Knott.
Arnold added another two first-innings wickets but it was the often under-rated Hendrick who did most damage, delivering hardly a loose ball in his four for 28 as India made just 165.
Opening batsman David Lloyd then beat that total alone with an unbeaten 214 and after England declared on 459 for two, the seamers were straight back into devastating action. Arnold and Chris Old each struck early to reduce India to 12 for two and Old and Hendrick went on to take three wickets apiece, with Arnold and Tony Greig each adding two to seal victory at 4.10pm on the fourth day – despite the entire first day having been lost to rain!