In every sport, round off figures have a substantial significance. These figures provide the break points in achievements and let a glimpse of the journey throughout time. These are the milestones that are considered as the measure of progress of the sports. In cricket, they have a special significance as the sport is more about scores and numbers. Moreover, the round-off figures are the measure of the achievements in this game. 0 is a duck, 50 is a half century, 100 is a century, similarly, 1000, 10,000 and other such denominations are the particular points in cricket.
For Team India, a similar moment is arriving. The Test match in Kanpur against New Zealand will be 500th Test match played by the team. This would offer a moment to have a glimpse of the journey so far for India. It is now 84 years for India since the team has been playing this classic format. India will be the fourth team to play the 500th Test match after England, Australia and West Indies.
The first Test match that India played was at Lords in 1932. It was the sixth team in the time to be given a Test status. India stood against England in its first fight, which was naturally a defeat to one of the top teams of the time. England won the match by 158 runs in the 3 Day tournament. India scored 189 in the first and 187 in the second inning.
India had the first victory in Test after almost 20 years from its first match. It was in 1952, and the coincidence was, the match was against the same team with which they played the first match. India was under the captainship of Vijay Hazare, winning the match by an inning and 8 runs. The top attacker of the team was Vinoo Mankad, who notched 12 wickets. The team played 25 matches before the first victory. A resurgence of Indian Test happened in the 1970-71 Test series in the Carribean. The team won the match against West Indies at Port of Spain. It was debut match for Sunil Gavaskar, who later created the golden landscape for Indian cricket.
Beginning from 1971, India had a better stretch in Test cricket. The team won 14 tests of the total 50 it played. During this time, players like Sunil Gavaskar, BS Chandrashekhar, EAS Prasanna, S Venkatraghvan and BS Bedi found their best forms. It was in this time when Kapil Dev emerged as a bowler as well as an all-rounder, who drew the roadmap for being the greatest all-rounder in cricket. From 1981 to 1990, it was a growth phase for India. India won the World Cup in 1983 primarily with the emergence of Kapil Dev. However, Test record was still gloomy for the team. India played 94 test matches and won only 14 out of them. The stretch also had the second tied Test match in history, which was with Australia at Madras.
In the decade of 1990s, India went through a revolutionary period of test format. There were players like Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and the rise of Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman among others. It was the best phase of Indian cricket, that made the sport a sensation in the country. During this period, India played 104 test matches and won 43 of them. The winning percentage of 41 was a new height in the format. Ganguly led Team India to victories against Australia, the top team in the decade. India was one of the best.
From 2001 to 2010, Team India was under captains like Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, who left their impressions in not only India but in the international cricket circuit. By the end of the decade, the baton was passed to MS Dhoni, who is known as the most successful Indian Captain in Test format so far. It was the dawn of next generation cricket for India. In 2009, India reached the top of ICC Test ranking under MS Dhoni. However, the team faced back to back losses that brought out the number: 27 victories out of 60 test matches played in the decade.
Now in 2016, the team is under the Captainship of Virat Kohli, who is notably among the top batsmen in the world. Presently, India is ranked second, following Pakistan by only two points. Thus the 500th test will be certainly a milestone for Team India. India is on the verge of a great breakthrough with players like Virat Kohli as batsmen and Ravichandran Ashwin as a bowler. Moreover, Anil Kumble as the coach of the team is adding to the great hue. The Kanpur Test match will be iconic for the team.
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