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Breathtaking Ishant Sharma takes life out of England for India's historic triumph


Jaspreet Sahni,Cricketnext
Jul 22, 2014 at 09:06am IST

We talk of a breathtaking fast-bowling display. We talk of bowlers intimidating batsmen. We talk of bowlers rattling a team up. We talk of bowlers at their best in Test cricket. We talk of champions coming up with their best when cornered. Each of the above fitted perfectly into a 'bloke' called Ishant Sharma who sucked life out of England in their own backyard to deliver a historic Indian win at Lord's on Monday.

Yes, it was largely set up by India's effort on the previous four days of the Test, but that takes nothing away from a bowler who takes five wickets (seven in all) in eight overs of bone-chilling Test-match fast bowling.

ALSO SEE Ishant finished with career-best figures of 7 for 74

The 'taunted' leader of Indian attack in England was 'applauded' by every Lord's attendee on Monday, who witnessed what will be part of fast-bowling folklore.

Breathtaking Ishant takes life out of England for India's historic triumph

A career-best 7-wicket burst by the Delhi speedster sucked life out of England to give India first Test win at Lord's in 28 years.

When Dhoni introduced Ishant close to lunch with India still wicketless on the final morning six wickets short of a historic win, some said, "God! It should have been Binny," while some, "Why Dhoni isn't trying anything different?"

Fourteen runs in his first over, including three fours by Joe Root, firmed up that belief as more words were spoken under breaths.

But then lightening struck. Ishant had the confidence of two wickets towards the fag end of previous day's play. And his rhythm was such as if he knew this is going to be a 'Special One'.

And the last ball before lunch fuelled Ishant's tank up for an even feisty spell after it. He had Moeen Ali hopping to a bouncer, and gloving a catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg to keep India believing going into the break.

That's where England's 'hour of life-long lament' began.

Something had clearly worked out with Ishant and MS Dhoni. Something that told them that it's time to give England a taste of their own medicine. "Let's bounce them out," both seemed to have agreed. And what happened to Ali before lunch continued after the break.

It's hard to recall when an Indian bowler took five wickets on the trot by bouncing the batsmen out. But Ishant did exactly that to end a game that had so many turning points. Joe Root, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad all became victims of an Ishant short ball.

To bowl so many short balls on the trot, a bowler has to have the confidence of his captain and Dhoni's joy at watching the Englishmen perishing hooking, pulling and taking evasive action clearly showed he had given Ishant the license.

"All these wickets are not for me; they are for the captain. Dhoni motivates players," Ishant testified the above. "Ishant didn't want to bowl it short. I gave him the confidence to do it. He's someone who can do it. He's our strike bowler," and Dhoni authenticated.

And Ishant, who had been questioned and egged on in equal measure prior to this series, will find much pleasure reading this:

1. Career best figures of 7 for 74.

2. First Indian bowler to take seven wickets in an innings in England.

3. Fifth best figures at Lord's by any visiting bowler.

4. Best bowling at Lord's by a subcontinent bowler.

5. Ishant is now fourth on the list of bowlers with most Test wickets in 2014 (25 in 4 Tests).

6. Ishant's last seven Test spells read: 6 for 134, 3 for 28, 6 for 51, 0 for 164, 3 for 150, 0 for 61 and 7 for 74.

"It really should be his time to step up and say, 'I am going to lead this attack'," Rahul Dravid had said before the tour. Surely, Ishant hasn't disappointed the legend.

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