(Last Updated on : 22-12-2010)
When the Indian team and the cricket administrators became successful to resume the regular cricketing schedule (that was hampered by the restless situation of the 1940s) the Indian team started playing with the other teams like Australia, apart from England. India faced the Australian Services XI, led by Lindsay Hassett in the 1945-46 and as the Indian batsmen like Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare were in tremendous form at that time; India became successful to beat the Australians, quite comfortably. This was the first ever win for India over the Australians and though it was an unofficial tour, it did add some more glory to the Indian cricket. India then went for its third tour to England in the year of 1946, with hopes to become successful once again.
Being confident with the victories over the Australians and with the two Vijays in wonderful form, the Indian team started their third England tour on a very positive note. The two great cricketers, Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare continued their on field battle from the domestic field to England and they both scored double centuries in their tour matches against Lancashire at Old Trafford and Yorkshire at Sheffield. Merchant scored a brilliant 242 runs in the match against Lancashire and Hazare soon crossed him by playing an innings of 244 runs against Yorkshire at Sheffield.
However, in spite of the brilliant performance by the legendary cricketers like Vinoo Mankad, Pataudi Sr., Lala Amarnath and Vijay Merchant, the Indian team lost the Test series against England by 0-1. Apart from the legends, the other Indian cricketers like Shute Banerjee and Chandu Sarwate also played brilliantly in the matches against England and their performances did help their team in crucial times. Banerjee and Sarwate made a record partnership for the last wicket, while batting in the match against Surrey at the Oval. They were the no 10 and 11 batsmen of India and they started making their partnership at a time, when India was struggling at 205-9.
Both the batsmen, Banerjee and Sarwate kept their heads calm and as they were quite determined to get their team a good total, they together made a historical partnership of 249 runs, for the last wicket. Banerjee was the last man to go for India, after scoring 121 runs and Sarwate remained unbeaten on an individual score of 124 runs. India eventually got all out for 454 runs in the match and this was the first time in an international match, where both the no 10 and 11 batsmen scored their individual centuries. Another significant success of the Indian team in the tour was that when they scored a huge total of 533 runs from only 365 minutes, against Sussex at Hove.
A number of four Indian batsmen, Mankad (105), Pataudi (110 not out), Merchant (205) and Amarnath (106 not out) got their individual centuries in the match and it was the first such event in the Indian cricket. The match remained interesting still as the Sussex batsman, George Cox replied with 234 not out in reply to India's total. However, that was not enough for Sussex to save the match and India eventually won the match by a huge margin of 9 wickets. The tour was definitely among the most memorable ones in the history of Indian cricket, as it presented some of the greatest moments of Indian cricket.