Having a name on the Lords’ honours board is always a special achievement for any cricketing individual, as it is considered as the mecca of cricket. However, a few greats of the game failed to mark their name on the board. But, surprisingly, Ajit Agarkar of India, who is a frontline fast bowler back then has stunned the world with his century at Lords.
In the first Test of the England tour of 2002, the home team piled up 487 runs in their first innings. The Indian team was all out for only 221 and with a quick reply from England, received a target of 568 runs. With India tottering at 170/6, an embarrassing loss was looming large.
I teased Ricky Ponting once – Ajit Agarkar
The presence of VVS Laxman at the other end strengthened the confidence of Ajit Agarkar, who went on to play the innings of his life. Agarkar remained undefeated and essayed a glorious 109* including 16 boundaries. India ultimately lost the match by 170 runs but it is this knock that remains etched as one of the wonders of Indian Cricket.
In the 22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur podcast, Agarkar was asked if he’d ever made use of those bragging rights with Tendulkar, who is a good friend. However, Ajit Agarkar did joke about it to Ricky Ponting, during their time together at Kolkata Knight Riders in the early years of the IPL.
“I did [rib] quietly to Ricky Ponting once when he was playing at KKR with me. Just laughingly asked him, ‘How many hundreds at Lord’s ya?’. The two played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first season of the IPL in 2008.
“But look, those guys, I would easily swap my one hundred for what they’ve achieved. It’d be too disrespectful to ask them that. But it’s always fun, I was lucky enough to get a hundred there. It’s a special memory” the Mumbaikar added.
However, it was a special moment in the history of Indian cricket as none expected Ajit Agarkar to play such a knock in those circumstances. Later, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh also scored centuries for India in Test Cricket.