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India scripted a historic Test win at Lord’s after 28 years and their first overseas since 2011. Abhijit Banare looks back at the key moments which changed the match.
Dilip Vengsarkar- Gundappa Viswanath (1979); Chetan Sharma-Dilip Vengsarkar (1986); Mohammad Azaharuddin-Ravi Shastri (1990); Sourav Ganguly-Venkatesh Prasad in 1996; But this is the first instance where three Indians entered the Lord’s Honours Board in the same Test. That shows India’s emphatic performance against England. Ajinkya Rahane’s ton on a lush green pitch, Bhuvneshwar Kumar swinging the first innings India’s way, Murali Vijay’s painstaking 95, Ravindra Jadeja’s maiden Test fifty and the final punch by Ishant Sharma. Below are the highlights of the historic Test
The Cheteshwar Pujara resistance: Years later, when this victory will be spoken about, very few will remember the 117-ball stay at the crease by Pujara. England had laid out a green track after the dead pitch at Trent Bridge. There were murmurs that India will fall apart against the England pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. But after the dismissal of Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara batted and dropped the anchor leaving the ball tirelessly for more than two hours. It not only eased up the green track but also showed that it was possible to survive on this kind of a wicket. It certainly gave India the momentum in the first session even as they lost two wickets. The par score here was 72 for two in the first session but it doesn’t indicate the circumstances under which India got there.
Stat: Ajinkya Rahane is the first Indian batsman since Sourav Ganguly to score a century in his first appearance at Lord’s
Ajinkya Rahane’s ton on lush green wicket and partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Just when all seemed well for India in the first session, they once again lost a series of wickets. From 86 for two, India had slipped to 145 for seven. But it was Rahane who fought his way out of pressure with the company of Bhuvneshwar. Both batsmen showed their technical compactness against the pacers and showed enough maturity to score only off loose deliveries. Rahane had already earned the applause for a Test fifty. But his credibility in the longest format multiplied when he inched closer to the three-figure mark and got their aggressively with few boundaries smashed over the bowler’s head and through covers. Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar was unfazed as he scored a fluent 36. The 90-run stand demoralised England and India were well on course for a score more than they would have asked for on such a pitch — 295.
Stat: Three Indian batsmen have got to the Lord’s Honours board with identical scores. Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane with 103.
India take lessons from England’s bowling: England pacers squandered the opportunity of a tailor-made wicket for them. They bowled short and allowed Indian batsmen to leave a lot of deliveries outside off-stump. Once again, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who looked most effective of the three seamers. He consistently pitched in line and forced the batsmen to play at it. Having got Alastair Cook and Sam Robson, it was clear that Dhoni will give him an extended spell. He kept hitting the right lengths and dragged them down until one batsman stood tall for the home side.
Gary Ballance’s ton and Liam Plunkett’s maiden Test fifty: It was a Test where the pendulum swung when one team looked ahead. Ballance played mature innings and showed that he is one of the contenders to be England’s long-time prospect along with Joe Root. While Balance scored his second ton, it was Liam Plunkett’s maiden fifty which helped England sneak a handy 24-run lead. It was an average performance from the England batting considering that the pitch was nowhere close to as it was on the first morning. When they came on to bowl in the second innings, the bowlers looked more focused but India’s top order looked good to keep this match interesting.
Murali Vijay misses Lord’s Honours by five runs: If anyone thought Vijay was a T20 batsman looking at his IPL records, this innings will be one to showcase his Test abilities for years to come. He repeated what Pujara did in the first innings sans the temperament and technique of Pujara. India looked solid at 118 for one, and were down to 123 for four in not time. Vijay kept his cool and continued to leave the balls outside off.
Ravindra Jadeja’s assault puts India ahead: When you see Jadeja charging down the wicket to James Anderson with the new cherry, you know you are about to see something bizarre. Jadeja defied all conventions of Test batting and hit his way out of trouble for India. He piled on misery hitting lofted shots through the line against James Anderson and Stuart Broad. He had hit his maiden Test fifty as the lead which was in the 170s had galloped to over 240. On the other end, Bhuvneshwar once again maintained his composure to hit another fifty. He has 209 runs and 11 wickets, but yet to win a Man of the Match. But the moment to remember will be Jadeja’s swishing of the bat to celebrate his maiden fifty.
Stat: Bhuvneshwar Kumar became the first No 9 to score three fifties in a Test series
India bagged four wickets at the end of Day Four and Ravindra Jadeja was turning the ball looking threatening with every delivery. However, the next morning, Root and Moeen built a solid partnership to keep England in sight of that elusive victory.
Stat: Ishant Sharma registered the best performance by an Indian at Lord’s eclipsing Amar Singh’s six for 35. This seven for 74 is Ishant’s best performance in an innings. Previous to this match, Ishant had his best bowling and worst bowling performance in the same series at Wellington (6/51 & 0/164).
Ishant Sharma’s final assault: One of the joke on Twitter read: “England team went to the pub but they were kicked out by the bouncers.” Very few would have imagined in their wildest dreams that an Indian pacer would rip through the English batting with short balls overseas. It was a ploy set by Dhoni and encouraged Ishant to continue with it. Post lunch, Matt prior and Joe Root plundered runs off the short stuff. Just when things were slipping out of India’s hand, Prior fell for the trap hooking straight to Shikhar Dhawan. England still held the aces with over 100 needed and a strong tail batting to follow. What followed was a brain freeze from England. India continued with the old ball and Ishant was in the midst of an intense spell. Ben Stokes continued his duck-scoring series as he tried to hook from outside off-stump and walked back to the pavilion. Within the blink of an eye, Root and Stuart Broad too had walked back. But India had sniffed the chance when Moeen Ali conceded the
It was a fitting end to the Test. July 22, Anderson and Jadeja will be summoned for a hearing about the spat and Jadeja completed the historic Test win a day before with a direct throw to run Anderson out. MS
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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