First Indian century at Lord’s was in English colours

Kannur Lokesh Rahul is officially the tenth Indian to score a century at Lord’s, but if one adds the one scored in 1930 by Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar, the Saurashtra royal after whom the Duleep Trophy is named, the 29-year-old from Karnataka should be No. 11.

The catch, though, is that Duleepsinhji was playing for England. And he scored his century at Lord’s in the second Test match of the 1930 Ashes, which saw Don Bradman notch up 974 runs, including his career-highest 334 at Headingly, Leeds.

Duleepsinhji, who had to retire from international cricket in 1931 because of recurring ill-health, was the second highest scorer for England in the series. He made 416 runs against Herbert Sutcliffe’s 436.

So, officially, it was Vinoo Mankad who was the first Indian to grace the Lord’s Honours Boards after he scored 184 runs in the second innings of the 1952 England-India Series, having added 72 to the scoreboard and claiming five wickets in the first. Mankad, incidentally, had been co-opted to the Indian team from the Lancashire League club team of Haslingden.

As many as 133 Test centuries have been scored at Lord’s since Allan Gibson scored the first in 1884. After Mankad, it was only in 1979 that Gundappa Vishwanath (113) and Dilip Vengsarkar (103) scored centuries in the second innings, thereby saving India, which had been bundled out for 96 in the first, the ignominy of defeat.

Vengsarkar went on to make two more centuries at Lord’s — 157 in 1982 and 126 not out in 1986. He was followed by Ravi Shastri (100) and Mohammed Azharuddin (121) in 1990, Sourav Ganguly (131) in 1996, Ajit Agarkar (109 n.o.) in 2002, Rahul Dravid (103 n.o.) in 2011 and Ajinkya Rahane (103) in 2014. Seven years lapsed before Rahul’s unbeaten 127 ended the dry spell for Indian centurions.

Centuries by Indian batsmen, clearly, have come after long intervals and none of them has scored a double. Will Rahul be able to surpass Mankad’s 184?