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India vs England 1952: A Trueman Show

India’s 1952 tour of England was their first tour in that country after independence. This was the only time in test cricket when a team lost their first four wickets without a run on the board.

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Last updated: 07.06.2019
Fred Trueman | Sports Social Blog

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India’s 1952 tour of England was their first tour in that country after independence. India had a strong team on paper, led by Vijay Hazare and expected to give a good fight to England. They started the tour with various matches against the counties and other teams. Among the nine tour matches leading to the first test, Indians won one, lost one and rest seven were drawn.

The first test started on June 5, 1952, at Headingley in Leeds. India had a settled squad with a couple of debutants in Datta Gaekwad and GS Ramchand. For England, the only debutant was the 21-year-old Yorkshire fast bowler Fred Trueman in his home ground. Trueman was a controversial figure for Yorkshire who had the ability to bowl quick. He also did national service from 1951 to 1953 as part of the RAF. In between all this, he was selected to play tests against Indians and the captain Len Hutton, the first ever professional player to lead the England national team, was happy to use the tear away quick against the Indians who did not like fast bowling much.

India put up a respectable 293 in the first innings as young Vijay Manjarekar, only in his third test and first ever innings overseas, scored a brilliant 133 and got company from Captain Hazare who scored 89. Trueman got three wickets for 89 runs on his debut test innings. England responded with 334 with almost everyone contributing.

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The actual drama started on 7th June at the start of India’s second innings.

With just a deficit of 41, India must have been hoping to put up a strong show and set a stiff target for England in their 4th innings. However, Trueman strikes and not just once. By 14th delivery of the second innings, India were 0 for 4 wickets with Trueman taking three and Alec Bedser taking one. This was the only time in test cricket when a team lost their first four wickets without a run on the board. Trueman was unplayable that afternoon and got the wickets of Pankaj Roy, Madhav Mantri and Vijay Manjarekar. He finished with four wickets as India made some recovery; thanks to the fifties from Hazare and Dattu Phadkar. But a target of 125 was easily achieved by England on Day four.

Trueman announced himself to the world and immediately delivered more good work in the following test. In a 13-year long test career, he went on to become the first player ever to take more than 300 wickets in test matches.


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