India have always been a wonderful team at home, with visiting countries struggling to cope with the home conditions as pitches are on the slower side mostly. But England were a terrific side when they last played in the Test series in 2012, where they emerged victorious, winning the four-match Test series 2-1.
It is one of their significant victories, and the current crop of players will hope for the same as they prepare to face England in a five-match series from next Wednesday. Rather than focusing on what to expect from the two teams in the upcoming Test series, let us recollect how the four-match series in 2012 went by.
1st Test @ Sardar Patel Stadium
Both teams were keen to make a good start in the first Test match of the series, as it could help them set the tone for rest of the series. India, after winning the toss, decided to bat first, which proved to be right with opener Virender Sehwag destroying England's attack with a ton and Cheteshwar Pujara, in his own style, scored a double ton to help India compile 521 runs.
England were required to score big in the first innings, but Pragjyan Ojha's five wicket haul helped India dismiss England for 191 runs, resulting in a follow-on. But England captain Alastair Cook looked a determined batsman, scoring a gritty 176 runs. But he did not receive much support, which was a concern, besides 91-run innings from Matt Prior, which helped them accumulate 406 runs only. Despite the brilliance of Cook and Prior, it was not enough for them to save the Test match as India scored a brisk 80 runs to win the Test match.
India takes 1-0 lead
Scores: India 521/8d and 80/1 (15.3 over, target: 77); England 191 and 406
India won by 9 wickets, with Pujara walking away with the man of the match for his brilliant double ton in the first innings.
2nd Test at Wankhede Stadium
India had come into this match with immense confidence after their impressive nine-wicket win in the first Test. However, they faced a determined English team, who showed some fighting spirit in the second Test. Besides Pujara, who scored another ton, none of the batsmen could really get into the game for India, who were bundled out for 327 runs.
When England's turn came to bat, they had their focus intact and knew about the importance of scoring as many runs as possible in the first innings. They did exactly that, with stunning tons from Cook and Kevin Pietersen. The right-hander's 233-ball 186 still remains to be one of the best knocks played on Indian soil.
After compiling 413 runs in their first innings, the English bowlers were inspired by KP and Cook's batting efforts, and bowled brilliantly, as Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann weaved their magic through to dismiss India for 142 runs, and England chased down the target of 57 runs in 9.4 overs.
India 1 – England 1
India 327 and 142; England 413 and 58/0 (9.4 over, target: 57)
England won by 10 wickets. Pietersen deservedly walked away with the man of the match award for his stupendous 186 runs in the first innings.
3rd Test @ Eden Gardens
With the Test series evenly poised at 1-1, India and England knew that the third Test match will be an important one in the context of the series. The second Test pitch might have supported the spinners, but this one in Kolkata assisted the seamers, and England, who play most of their cricket in such conditions, took full advantage of it and dismissed India for 316 runs. Many India batsmen got good starts but failed to score huge runs.
Cook was in amazing form, and he continued his purple patch with yet another ton in the Test series. Their top order looked comfortable on the 22-yard surface and went past India's total with only one wicket down. Eventually, they scored 523 runs in their first innings, and their seamers including Steve Finn and James Anderson, getting more help from the pitch, dismissed India for 247 runs.
England had the game in their bag, requiring 41 runs with 10 wickets in hand, which was never going to be difficult. They lost three wickets before reaching the target.
India 1- England 2
India 316 and 247; England 523 and 41/3 (12.1 over, target: 41)
England won by seven wickets. Cook, after scoring three straight tons, finally got the man of the match award.
4th Test @ Vidarbha Cricket Association
There were no two ways about it. India had to win the Nagpur Test to draw the series level while England just required a draw clinch series. Hence, there was a serious need for both teams to play some amazing cricket.
England batted patiently in the first innings of the Test to score 330 runs, with Pietersen and Joe Root scoring 73 runs each. India were in all sort of trouble in the must-win match, as they lost their first four wickets for 71 runs, but a solid partnership between Kohli and MS Dhoni played an important role in helping India score 326 runs.
With India trailing by four runs, they were in serious need to dismiss England batsmen early and knock off the target if a chance came by. Sadly, India did not even get a chance to bat for the second time with Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell digging their heels to complete their respective tons and clinched the Test series with their determined approach.
England won series 2-1.
England 330 and 352/4d (154 over); India 326/9d
The match was drawn. James Anderson and Alastair Cook won the man of the match and man of the series awards, respectively.