Triple milestones for the Lord’s Test

Sachin Tendulkar,   on the verge of a unique milestone – 100 international centuries


The first Test between England and India starting on 21st July will usher in three milestones. Firstly, it will be the 2000th Test in cricket’s colourful history.
In 1985 I had written a book titled “1000 Tests” (Strata) which gave the highlights of the first thousand Tests from March 1877 to December 1985.
So it took more than 108 years to complete the first 1000 Tests. But it has been less than 26 years to complete the next 1000. That is, four times quicker.
And this despite the blossoming of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and the mushrooming of Twenty20s!
Below are listed the landmark Tests:
First Test: Australia vs. England, Melbourne, March 15-19, 1877. Australia won by 45 runs.
Centenary Test (Test number 803): Australia vs. England, Melbourne, March 12-17, 1977, Australia won by 45 runs ”“ the coincidence of the century.
100th Test: Australia vs. England, Sydney, February 21-27, 1908. Australia won by 49 runs.
500th Test: India vs. Pakistan, Madras (now Chennai), January 13-18, 1960. Drawn.
1000th Test: Australia vs. West Indies, Melbourne, December 22-27, 1984. Drawn.
2000th Test: England vs. India, Lord’s, London, next week, July 21-25, 2011.

By a coincidence, the above 2000th Test will also be the 100th Test between England and India. They had played their inaugural Test also at Lord’s 79 years ago, from 25-28, June 1932. I wonder how many Roarers were born then.
What a strong team England fielded for the Anglo-Indian Test initiation! They opened with Herbert Sutcliffe and Percy Holmes, followed by Frank Woolley, Wally Hammond, Douglas Jardine (captain), Eddie Paynter and Les Ames behind the stumps.
Despite such a batting line-up, England was dismissed for 259 and 275 (India’s fastest ever bowler Mahomed Nissar claiming 5-93 and 1-42).
But with Bill Voce, Bill Bowes, Fred Brown, Hammond and Walter Robins taking vital wickets England won by 158 runs.
The same England team (plus Harold Larwood) thrashed Australia 4-1 the following Australian summer.

In the 99 Tests between England and India, the former lead 34 to 19 with 46 drawn.
On home turf, England’s record is even more impressive, leading 23 to 5 with 20 drawn out of 48 played.
But India leads in India; 14 to 11 with 26 drawn out of 51.

Both India and England are currently on a high with victories over the West Indies and Sri Lanka in the recent Test series. India won 1-0 (2 drawn) in the just concluded series in the Caribbean and England defeated Sri Lanka in England by the same margin, 1-0 (2 drawn).
The plus for India is that they will be strengthened by the presence of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, opening bat Gautam Gambhir, all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and reverse-swing specialist Zaheer Khan.
The flamboyant Virender Sehwag will also join the squad but he will not be playing the historic first Test at Lord’s as his injury has not healed.

Now to the third milestone. If Tendulkar scores a century it will be his 100th international century. He has so far hit 51 in 177 Tests and 48 in 453 ODIs. Australia’s Ricky Ponting is the second highest but way behind with 39 centuries in 152 Tests and 30 in 362 ODIs.
Thus Tendulkar is a whopping 30 centuries ahead of the next best.
Won’t it be magical if Tendulkar notches his landmark 100th international ton on the headquarters of cricket, Lord’s, in the 100th Test between the nations?

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