In the third and final part of this series, we look back at England’s last three Test matches at Chepauk heading into the ongoing series against India, each of which resulted in defeat.
A tame series surrender – Second Test, 1992-93
Smarting from an eight-defeat at Calcutta, England were dealt a further setback when captain Graham Gooch had to pull out due to sickness, presumably due to eating prawns the previous night. Opener Navjot Singh Sidhu scored 106 after India elected to bat, sharing in stands of 108 for the second wicket with Vinod Kambli (59) and 147 for the third wicket with Sachin Tendulkar, who continued to add to the visitors’ woes.
Tendulkar put on 118 for the fifth wicket with Pravin Amre (78) before falling for a fine 165. Kapil Dev’s quickfire 66* swelled the total to 560/6, at which point India declared late on the second day. Stand-in captain Alec Stewart (74) and Graeme Hick (64) added 111 for the second wicket in response, before left-arm spinner Venkatapathy Raju (4/103) and off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan triggered a collapse from 157/1 to 179/6.
Neil Fairbrother (83) pushed the total to 286, after which India enforced the follow-on. Kapil removed Stewart and Hick for ducks early, and though opener Robin Smith scored 56, England crashed to 99/6. Chris Lewis, batting at number seven, hit an a rapid 117 on his 25th birthday, which took the match into the final day. England were duly bowled out for 252, with leg-spinner Anil Kumble collecting figures of 6/64.
A chase to remember – First Test, 2008-09
Andrew Strauss laid a strong platform for England in this first of two Tests through an opening stand of 118 with fellow left-hander Alastair Cook (52). But India fought back with regular wickets to have the score at 229/6, Strauss being fifth out for 123. Matt Prior propelled the eventual total to 316 with an unbeaten 53. India wobbled to 37/3 in reply, with debutant off-spinner Graeme Swann taking two of those wickets.
Captain MS Dhoni (53) was joined by Harbhajan Singh at 137/6, and the pair added 75 for the seventh wicket. But it was not enough to prevent England from taking a 75-run lead. England were then reduced to 43/3, before a fourth-wicket stand of 214 between Strauss (108) and Paul Collingwood (108) steered them to a declaration at 311/9. Strauss had the satisfaction of scoring twin hundreds, but it would be in a losing cause.
India’s target was a stiff 387. However, Virender Sehwag smashed 83 in just 68 balls in an opening stand of 117 with Gautam Gambhir (66). Just after lunch on the final day, Yuvraj Singh (85*) joined forces with Tendulkar at 224/4. They forged an unbroken stand of 163, with a four from Tendulkar (103*) bringing up his hundred as well as a famous six-wicket win for India. This is currently the seventh highest successful Test chase.
Record-breaking India run amok – Fifth Test, 2016-17
As was also the case in the fourth Test at Mumbai, England somehow went on to lose heavily despite a promising start. Their first-innings total of 477 eventually went down as the highest for a team losing by an innings. The visitors, already down by 3-0 in the series, slipped to 21/2 before Joe Root (88) and Moeen Ali put on 146 for the third wicket. Moeen kept going, and was the seventh man out at 321 for 146.
Debutant Liam Dawson (66) and Adil Rashid (60) frustrated India by adding 108 for the eighth wicket. India displayed their run-scoring intentions from outset, as openers Lokesh Rahul and Parthiv Patel (71) put on 152. Rahul also added 161 for the fourth wicket with Karun Nair, and agonisingly fell on the verge of a double ton, for 199. Nair was in his element, as he deflated England with an incredible performance.
Playing only his third Test, Nair became the second man to hit a Test triple ton for India. He stayed unbeaten on 303 from just 381 balls, sharing in stands of 181 for the sixth wicket with Ravichandran Ashwin (67) and 158 for the seventh wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (51). India amassed a gargantuan 759/7 – their highest Test total. The left-arm spin of Jadeja (7/48) dealt the final blow to England, who were dismissed for 207.