Sunday, July 24, 2011


England are in total control of the first Test at Lord's despite heroics from Ishant Sharma who ran through their middle order in the second innings on day four on Sunday.
The Lord's wicket has been one of the dream wicket for any fast bowler to bowl on and with Zaheer Khan out injured, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
Ishant, who had an ordinary bowling spell in the first innings, came back strong in the second essay and answered his critics in fine fashion. His bowling spell of 13-6-15-3 in the first session brought India right back into the match and was one of the finest spell by an Indian at the 'Mecca of Cricket.'
Praveen Kumar was getting the new ball to swing menacingly and took the first wicket of Cook and soon Harbhajan Singh got his first wicket of the match when he trapped Andrew Struass in front of the wicket.
But Ishant's spell was one to look out for. He used his pace and ability to make the ball rear off a good length to trouble all opposition batsmen. He even managed to extract bounce off the track and got almost every batsman fishing outside the off stump.
Jut when it was looking like England were in cruise control of the match, he got the big fish Kevin Pietersen with a peach of a delivery. Ishant dismissed Pitersen (1), Ian Bell (0) and Jonathan Trott (22) in two spells of hostile fast bowling for morning figures of 13-6-15-3.
Ishant, who normally bowls from the back-of-length, on Sunday largely bowled full as he tried to draw the batsmen forward. Bell (0) played and missed a couple of deliveries before he edged one to Dhoni that was angled into him.
Ishant's third strike of the morning was an incoming delivery bowled fuller to draw Trott forward. He went for the drive but was castled as the delivery zipped through the gap between bat and pad.
When India came out in the second session, Ishant was surprisingly given a breather from Dhoni and that was the moment India lost the momentum in the Test match. Ishant was brought eight overs later and he struck in his second over, removing Eoin Morgan with a short ball. Morgan was late with the pull shot and the ball carried to Gambhir, who took a diving catch at midwicket.
In the end Ishant ended with the figure of 22-6-59-4 in the second innings, just one short of what would have put his name on the Honours Board as well.
And despite the fact that the English lower order fought back to put up a massive target for India, there's no denying that Ishant's spell took everyone back in time to the 2007-08 series in Australi where he had left the Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting gasping for breath.
The outcome of the Test match now depends on India's batsmen, but with Ishant too now amongst the wickets, the Indian bowling despite the absence of Zaheer Khan finally seems to be a settling in to a rhythm that is much needed for the ensuing three Tests.