England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day July 21, 2014

Ishant's seven destroys England


India 295 (Rahane 103, Anderson 4-60) and 342 (Vijay 95, Jadeja 68, Bhuvneshwar 52) beat England 319 (Ballance 110, Plunkett 55*, Bhuvneshwar 6-82) and 223 (Root 66, Ishant 7-74) by 95 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Kimber: Ishant a national hero

Ishant Sharma, bowling short and aggressively with the old ball, produced one of the most memorable spells in the history of Indian fast bowling to destroy England's resistance in the second Investec Test at Lord's.

As India completed a 95-run victory 50 minutes before tea on the final day, it ended a run of more than three years without an overseas Test victory and left England befuddled and bereft as they contemplated a winless streak of 10 Tests and the continued failures of their senior players to contribute to a rapidly-changing landscape.

England's defeat, and the muddle-headed cricket they regularly played en route, will increase criticism of Alastair Cook's captaincy despite repeated protestations from England's hierarchy that he remained the man to lead them during a period of rapid change. As their innings ended to a farcical run-out, Cook and his coach Peter Moores, their dejection only half-hidden behind reflective sunglasses, were deep in conversation on the balcony.

But India, who won at Lord's for only the second time in 82 years, will have eyes only for the performance of Ishant, who returned career-best figures of 7 for 74 and invited comparisons with the brilliant spell in Perth in 2008 when he roughed up no less a player of fast bowling than Ricky Ponting and encouraged India's hopes that they had a great fast bowler to reckon with.

Ishant's career has never quite turned out like that, but one could imagine that the intervening years had not existed as he pounded life from the Lord's pitch with the old ball, reviving India's spirits with the last ball before lunch by removing Moeen Ali, and adding Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Joe Root to hook shots in a burst of 3 for 2 in eight balls as England descended into a self-destructive display of machismo.

Stuart Broad, caught down the leg side, was his final victim, in a spell of 5 for 41 in eight overs, broken by lunch. His use of the short ball was encouraged by his captain, MS Dhoni, and began as a last throw of the dice 10 minutes before lunch, a response to a draining morning in which India had failed to disturb the equanimity of Root and Moeen. From that moment, India never looked back as, bowling from a great height, he exploited occasional indifferent bounce. This was the Ishant of India's dreams - but for those who cared to look deeply enough, it was England assisted.

The ending, in India's eyes, was pure Bollywood. Ravindra Jadeja ran out his adversary, James Anderson. Then he offered a handshake which Anderson felt obliged to accept. Tomorrow, they are pitted against each other again in an ICC enquiry into the off-field brouhaha between them in the Trent Bridge Test.

Ishant's bohemian side was captured by the occasional appearance of non-cricket coloured purple pants as he tore in to bowl, East Perth replaced six years on by St John's Wood. England's innings ended in the 89th over, but the new ball was never even taken.

That these are two middle-ranking teams with problems is undeniable, but their inadequacies as much as their promise had contributed to an engrossing spectacle on a Lord's pitch of uplifting quality. India can celebrate in London before heading to the Ageas Bowl for a third Test beginning on Sunday; England face recriminations, with the Test future of their wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, also bound to be under scrutiny.

India went unrewarded until the final ball of a morning session in which Root and Moeen played with skill and fortitude. Then Ishant summoned a wicked bouncer to have Moeen caught at short leg. One wicket, but potentially a huge psychological shift. There was no skill and fortitude after that, not from England anyway.

Without that wicket, England could have taken enormous satisfaction from a morning which had chipped away 68 of the 214 runs they still needed. India's dressing room morale would have been shaken. But the ball reared aggressively enough for Moeen to tilt his head away in self-protection and a simple catch flew off the glove to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg. India, it turned out, had found a way to succeed.

Root seemed to have ensured that England went to lunch as buoyant as possible. Ishant had been brought back to hunt a wicket that India were desperately in need of but 14 came off the over. Root struck three boundaries in that first over back, passing his half-century on the way. He moved through the offside arc - straight, covers, backward point. With England 170 for 4, an unlikely victory 149 runs away, it was India's lowest point.

From 72 for 4, Root and Moeen had assembled a fifth-wicket stand of 101 in 44 overs, Root relishing the tension, Moeen composed alongside him, vulnerable occasionally against Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin as a couple of nudges dropped safely away from the leg trap.

There had only been one successful chase at Lord's beyond 319 and only 27 successful chases of 300 or above in Test history. But sides bat deeper these days and, although a wonderful Lord's pitch was now offering substantial turn, India only had one (fairly) specialist spinner in Jadeja. The choice of Stuart Binny's medium pace above the spin of R Ashwin was hard to justify.

Such debates were silenced by Ishant. With the new ball only four overs away as he began his innings after lunch, Prior might have been expected to try to hang around with Root, so protecting a young talent like Stokes from the new ball. Instead, he chose aggression, eager to make progress against the short stuff. With the new ball theoretically only two balls away, Prior hooked Ishant to deep midwicket with three men laid out for the trap.

Stokes, out in Ishant's next over, collected a pair, failing to pull him up the slope and skying to Pujara at midwicket. His run of England failures is so long it is now a phone number in the UAE according to fans there. At least Root's swivel pull later in the over had an element of control, but he picked out deep square all the same. Root had imagined he might plot a route to victory. Instead Root 66 turned out to be a road to oblivion.

India's only other win at Lord's came in 1986. David Gower, a captain under pressure, had just followed up a home Ashes victory with a heavy defeat the following winter. He was replaced by Mike Gatting as captain after India won at Lord's. It was easy to advance a theory, perhaps fanciful given England's protestations of loyalty, that Cook might go the same way. But at his post-match press conference he insisted that he had no intention of resigning.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khawaja on July 23, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    i remember ishant asking kumar how he swings the ball in an earlier time...his second inning wickets were at a time when england had already lost the match in spirit and the first two wickets looked as if the ball was not bouncing properly...i would give this victory to kumar actually whose batting has kept india afloat although one did see a stokes ball hit him in the stomach...he did not bowll well in the second inning after that...i would suggest that cook bow out if india wins the next test and cook fails with the bat again...we have seen relatively good captains like ponting and inzamam hang on for two three years...but hanging on does not help...and experience shows that england does not have that sort of patience with a dying captain...

  • Dummy on July 23, 2014, 2:15 GMT

    Congrats to team india. Ishant bowled well luck also needed at d same time. Its a team effort. Aahwin replace binny we need best spinner in playing 11.

  • VIJAY on July 22, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    INDIA is the only subcontinent team which won a test in Lards (Mecca of cricket) and in Perth (world's fastest pitch)....

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    Congratulations to the India Team. Great to see a team performance.

    Apologies to Ishant, for all the derisive comments made during the last few years. Couldn't help it, since that is what he delivered after the great promise on tormenting Ponting. Nice to see that the weapons were different. He knocked down Ponting repeatedly with swing. Here he bounced out most of them. Hope he keeps up the superb show.

    In the midst of the euphoria of such a historic win, it may sound blasphemous to say that India's close-in fielding (including wicket-keeping) was far below acceptable standards. Almost made me nostalgic about Azharuddin, Dravid, VVS and their like, at their best. We have to improve tremendously in that area.

    Thanks to Dhoni, for remembering by lunchtime on day-5 that he is captaining his team in a test match. Keep it up. You can become as good a captain in the test format too, if you remove the cob-webs of of certain amount of latent dislike for this format. Congrats.

  • Sammy on July 22, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    Excellent and morale boosting win for India! And to have achieved it after being put on a green top, the sweeper digging with his shoes to assit english bowlers and without tampering the ball is remarkable in every sense.

  • Nish on July 22, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    Yes, it was an exciting win for India but the series has not yet been won! Whatever changes are contemplated by MSD & the Indian team management for the next Test, we definitely need to stick with having five frontline bowlers - as it is ridiculous overbowling the likes of Bhuvi, Ishant etc & risk them breaking down with injuries. Our close catching still needs improvement - our slip cordon stand a bit too deep at times, we shouldn't really be missing that snick from Ballance which went between MSD & Dhawan in the 1st innings & the likes of Kohli need to be always alert to dive for any ricocheted catching opportunities like the one from Moeen Ali just before the close of play on Sunday. Just one of these catches missed could be the difference between winning or losing the Test.

  • Prashant on July 22, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    It is not as much the bouncers that undid England as Dhoni not being defensive. On the field, a thinking and result-oriented Dhoni is always dangerous. As long as Dhoni continues being this way, we can at least be sure of exciting cricket. 3 more matches to go and I wouldn't count my chickens yet. May the best team win the series.

  • Shreenidhi on July 22, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    Everyone is full of praise for Ishant and MSD, and rightly so. But please let us acknowledge the significant achievement of a slight, quiet, young man - Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Along with Rahane, played an innings that demoralised England on that tricky first day, took six English wickets in their first innings, then repeated his batting heroics in the second innings and made yet another half century. It is tricky enough for top order batsmen to be that consistent and he is the number 9/10 batsman!!! He has also joined very elite company in being only the third player EVER to have taken 5 wickets and scored fifty runs each in two consecutive tests. He joins the incomparable Hadlee and Botham. Think about it, even Kallis and Sobers, two of the greatest all rounders to have ever played cricket did not manage that!!! Let us fete this quiet, unassuming, rough diamond from Meerut.

  • Nikhil on July 22, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    Good win for India and a lot of headaches for England. This lot of English batsmen are either is mental disarray or they simply can't handle decent short-pitch balling. Ishant was good but by no means unplayable at the test level.

    As for those rating these two teams as average, clearly they are; however, SA and Aus fans should rid themselves of the delusion that their sides aren't average. In the last thirty years or so, there has not been a great side that could wallop any team in any condition save for the West Indies. Waugh's Aus was good but considering they could never win in India when he was around, I wouldn't rate them as great. No other team even merits mentioning.

    Eng should stick with Cook till the end of the series. If he does not manage to turn it around by then, by all means, drop him as captain. As a player, he is the best they have had in a long while, so letting go of such talent is not something this poor England side can afford. India should just replace Binnny.

  • Navin on July 22, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Because Ind won, Dhoni may not make any changes. However, Ashwin will make a strong team. You can still give Dhawan a chance but Gambhir is a better choice for test. What a change from 2011 when Dhoni removed Ishant after few overs when he was on song. Wasim Akram has been crying out for bouncers in the first innings when he said he and Imran felt like they were watching a club cricket with no bouncers used by India to test the batsman. Wonder where Dhoni got the idea from, did he talk to Wasim or just felt it was time to test after 2 hours of no wicket and possible defeat facing the team. A great start for India in this series, they should do well all the way if weather stays good.