Home > Features >

Ishant Sharma: Hero of India’s greatest-ever overseas Test victory

Ishant Sharma claimed seven for 74 in the second innings to guide India to a historic win © Getty Images
Ishant Sharma claimed seven for 74 in the second innings to guide India to a historic win © Getty Images

There were many who said he should not bowl short. There were many who said he should not bowl from the Pavilion End. There were many who said he should not bowl at all. There were still more who said he should not have been picked for the England tour. And Ishant Sharma has scripted the final chapter of the greatest overseas Test win for India. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at this incredible performance.

Seven for 74. Seven of the last eight English wickets to fall. The hero of the glorious chapter of India’s greatest triumph in an overseas Test match.

Yes, greatest triumph — because it was achieved on a green track by a team of green horns. Ishant Sharma, steaming in, heels kicking up towards the vintage pavilion behind him, produced the most sensational match-winning spell by an Indian pace bowler.

Why the most sensational? The principal reason is that he has achieved something that no other Indian bowler has ever managed before: bouncing the opposition out in their very den. The entire team played brilliantly all through, but in the end it was Ishant who provided the final blow, a spectacularly demolishing one. It broke the back of English batting by reaching for their throats. The very man who had suffered from being the butt of many, many cruel jokes that questioned his presence in the team had produced the miracle.

There were experts, who kept saying seamers should bowl from the Nursery end, because wickets had fallen when seamers had bowled at the Nursery end. And Ishant captured seven, all from the wrong end — with the pavilion behind him.

Last evening, Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance had just inched their way towards a stable position when Mohammed Shami had provided the crucial breakthrough. And Ishant had struck immediately after that, helped by the ball that kept low, getting under and around Ian Bell’s defence.

The next victim had been Cook, inducing the fatal snick, the ball kept bowled perfectly in the zone of uncertainty which had undone the England captain for so long. But the grandest finale was reserved for the climax of this amazing Test match.

Through steady accumulation and gritty defending, Joe Root and Moeen Ali helped England claw their way back into the game. As the plates were set up for lunch, the hosts seemed to have wrested the advantage. The previous over had seen Ishant taken for 14 runs. The Ishant Sharma jokes had raised their despicable heads on social media. A couple of shoulders had sagged in the field, many in the Lord’s Media Centre. Some of the Indian journalists had shrugged and left for an early lunch. And then Ishant struck, with the very last delivery before lunch, a preview of things to come. MS Dhoni had said in the pre match press conference that Ishant obtained more bounce than the others. And with the ball old and just about to be changed, he ran in and bounced. It climbed on Moeen and got him fending to short leg.

If that had created the dent, the post-lunch period saw brilliance flow through in full splendour. Dhoni had a plan with three men back in the leg-side boundary. Ishant executed it to absolute perfection. The balls were short, the batsmen pulled, and one by one they perished. The flashing blades swished through the air, but the bounce Ishant obtained made the strokes go high rather than long. Matt Prior was held at deep mid-wicket, Ben Stokes at mid-on, Joe Root at deep-square leg. And finally, Stuart Broad surrendered to a tame half-waft and Dhoni holding a good catch down the leg side. Ishant’s 23-6-74-7 had destroyed England and scripted history.

Ishant has often said that he does not consider himself to be the leader of the pace bowlers. But as long as he runs in like this, breathing fire, long mane tossing about, putting fear of God into the opposition batsman, he will do an admirable job of the chief hunter of the pack without claiming to be one.

For now he can put his feet up and rejoice the moment of his coming of age, and doing it in some style.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Live Cricket Score: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Live Scorecard: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood named in Australia’s squad for 1st Test against India

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

Mithali Raj: India women confident ahead of ODI series against South Africa

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina in interesting tussle ahead of India’s Test series against Australia

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Live Cricket Score: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Katrina Kaif beats Deepika Padukone to win Maxim India’s HOT 100 list, 2014!

सौन्दर्य टिप #43: मुँहासों से छुटकारा पाने के लिए शहद से बना पैक लगाकर देखें

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: Nigaar Khan leaves the house, says she is shocked by Gautam Gulati and Puneet Issar’s hatred towards her!

हेल्थ टिप #2: घरेलु उपचार के द्वारा जले हुए घाव से ज़ल्द राहत पायें

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Live Scorecard: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here