On This Day: India win their first overseas Test, beat New Zealand at Dunedin in 1968
Virat Kohli's India and Kane Williamson's New Zealand are set to lock horns in the first Test of their two-match Test series from Friday.
Virat Kohli's India and Kane Williamson's New Zealand are set to lock horns in the first Test of their two-match Test series from Friday. The eve of the Test marks a very special day in the history of Indian cricket.
On This Day, in 1968, India clinched their maiden overseas Test victory and interestingly, the win came against none other than the Kiwis. After making their Test debut in 1932, it took India as many as 36 years to finally register an away win.
MAK Pataudi led India as they embarked on their maiden tour to New Zealand for a four-match Test series. The series was just a month after India suffered a drubbing of 4-0 in Australia. The conditions were going to be completely different from what they had experience Down Under, especially weather-wise. While it was summer in Australia, New Zealand was going to offer them some extremely cold conditions.
Little did they know, they were about to open a new chapter in the Indian cricket history.
The first Test of the four-match series was played at Dunedin. New Zealand skipper Barry Sinclair won the toss and opted to bat. The Indians had a decent start as medium-pacer Ramakant Desair drew first blood with the wicket of Bruce Murray. The Kiwis ensured they did not lose the momentum and opener Graham Dowling one-down batsman Bevan Congdon did a great job. The two put up a 155-run stand for the second wicket before India's spinner Bapu Nandkani removed Congdon, who went after contributing 58 from 247 balls, at 200 for 2.
While Dowling scored an excellent hundred, Mark Burgess scored a half-century on his Test debut before the BlackCaps were bundled out for 350.
In the next innings, the Indians played plenty of risky shots but they survived, thanks to sloppy fielding from the hosts. New Zealand dropped as many as eight catches in a span of two hours and that handed the commanding position to Pataudi and Co.
After losing Abid Ali at 39 for 1, the duo of Farokh Engineer and Ajit Wadekar brought back India's innings to track. They built a 79-run partnership for the second wicket before Engineer was sent back to the dugout at 118 for 2. He scored 135-ball 63, while Wadekar, later on, was caught behind for 80 from 188 balls. The final wicket stand between Desai and Bishan Bedi turned the table around in India's favour. Their partnership frustrated the Kiwi bowlers as it added another 57 runs to the tally. Desai became the subject of the discussion as he played with a broken jaw. At the start of his innings, he was hit by a ball from Motz. He showed a great character there and India earned a lead of nine runs before getting bundled out.
When New Zealand returned for their second innings, they struggled to score runs. Opening batsman scored an excellent half-century. From 33 for 1, New Zealand collapsed to 92 for 5 and then 120 for 6. Burgess once again performed well with the bat as he hammered 22 runs off just five deliveries, bowled by Indian spinner Prasanna. Burgess remained unbeaten at 39 from 108 but India wrapped up Kiwi's innings for only 208 runs.
Before the fourth day ended, India had reached 166 for the loss of three wickets. The weather conditions were poor on the final morning as the play got delayed for nearly an hour due to rain. When the match resumed, despite some great efforts from the New Zealand bowlers India ensured they secured their maiden overseas Test victory in Dunedin. Post lunch, India sealed the match by five wickets.
The Indians then went on to defeat New Zealand in the series 3-1, beyond anyone's expectations. That remained India's only series triumph in New Zealand for more than four decades. India's second Test series victory in New Zealand came under MS Dhoni in 2009 when India defeated the BlackCaps 1-0 in the three-match Test series.
World No. 1's captain, Kohli now has a great chance of joining the elite club of Pataudi and Dhoni to become only a third Indian skipper to win a Test series in New Zealand. The upcoming series includes two Tests with the matches being played at Wellington's Basin Reserve and Christchurch's Hagley Oval.