1971: Oval: India v England: Epic contest at The Oval which saw India make history with its first-ever series win in England, thanks mainly to a sensational spell by leg-spinner B. S. Chandrasekhar, who claimed six for 38 in the second innings after finishing with none for 90 in the first. For years, we would relive the match, remembering each dismissal, especially the incredible catch by Eknath Solkar off S. Venkataraghavan to get rid of Allan Knott. Much before the advent of YouTube, we would throng cinema theatres to watch the capsule `Triumph at Oval’ since the Indian News Review, before the start of the movie, was the only source to watch cricket highlights.
1975: India beat Pakistan, World Cup hockey final: All India Radio, with thrilling commentary from the iconic Jasdev Singh (Hindi) and Melville D’Mellow (English), brought the contest to your homes. It was a feat yet to be repeated as India snatched victory in a bitterly fought match at the Merdeka Football Stadium where Pakistan took the lead through Muhammad Zahid Sheikh before Surjit Singh equalised and Ashok Kumar hit the winner.
Indian hockey team captain Ajit Pal Singh (left) holding the trophy after India beat Pakistan 2-1 in the World Cup hockey final in Kuala Lumpur on March 15, 1975. – THE HINDU ARCHIVES
1995: Leander beats Goran Ivanisevic: Leander Paes was the toast of the nation as India stunned overwhelming favourite Croatia in the World Group Qualifying round of the Davis Cup. The match was held at the National Sports Club of India in Delhi and the host won 3-2. Paes, at 22, came up with a life-time performance when he beat Ivanisevic in the reverse singles to clinch the tie. Ivanisevic was to win the Wimbledon years later but that day he had no answer to stop the inspired Paes.
Leander Paes was the toast of the nation as India stunned overwhelming favourite Croatia in the World Group Qualifying round of the Davis Cup. – V. V. KRISHNAN
2001: India beat UAE, World Cup qualifier: Salgaocar midfielder Jules Alberto scored the most significant goal of his career to pull off a 1-0 win for India against the mighty United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the World Cup qualifier at Bangalore’s Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Critics and India’s best supporters gave the host no chance against UAE, coached by Frenchman Henri Michel. Veteran IM Vijayan played his heart out in the second half, coming as a substitute, and strengthened the defence along with Baichung Bhutia. After the match, an upset Michel refused to speak to the press.
2008: Bindra gold at Beijing Olympics: The absence of an individual gold medalist at the Olympics had always rankled India. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had come close in 2004 at Athens but finished with a silver in the double trap shooting. But Abhinav Bindra wrote a new chapter in Indian sport with the gold in the 10m air rifle shooting. His heart-stopping finish with Henri Hakkinen of Finland and Zhu Qinan of China continues to motivate the young shooters. The composure with which he shot 10.8 on his final attempt is worth revisiting a million times.
Abhinav Bindra of India poses with his gold medal in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Final at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall on day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. – GETTY IMAGES