Indian cricket July 22, 2014

Ishant's fourth-innings heroics in rare company

In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia

Sreesanth dismissed Jacques Kallis with a brute of a bouncer during his match-winning spell in Durban in 2010-11 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Anil Kumble, 6 for 78, Kingston, 2006

The pitch was a minefield, and two of Rahul Dravid's best half-centuries set a target of 269 for West Indies. The series was level going into this, the last Test, and India needed a good start. By the time Kumble struck for the first time in the fourth innings, 26 of the 33 wickets had fallen to the quicks. Sreesanth had done his bit by removing Chris Gayle and Darren Ganga in his first spell, but once West Indies' middle and lower order began putting together partnerships, it was the metronomic and tireless Kumble who came to the fore. He bowled eight overs in his first spell, and 14.4 in his second and the last of the series, which India won only for the second time in the West Indies, and the first for 35 years.

Kapil Dev, 5 for 28, Melbourne, 1980-81

One of India's finest Test wins. A tale of guts, needle and glory. Shivlal Yadav batted with a broken toe to help Gundappa Viswanath to a hundred. He then bowled 32 overs with a broken toe, but Australia led by 182. Sunil Gavaskar and Denniss Lillee fought, but a riled-up Indian batting responded, scoring more than 300 in their second innings. The target for Australia, though, was only 143, with Kapil Dev and Yadav injured. Before stumps on final day, however, Greg Chappell gave India an opening, getting bowled behind his legs by a Karsan Ghavri long hop. On the final morning, Kapil bowled unchanged for 16.4 overs, straight and on a length on an up-and-down pitch, and took five of the last seven wickets to fall as India won by 59 runs.

Sreesanth, 3 for 45, Durban, 2010-11

India, the No. 1 Test side, had been thumped by an innings in the first Test, and were now playing to avoid humiliation. The pitch was green, and there was weather around throughout the Test to make it a seam-bowling paradise. India lost the toss, but thanks to some disciplined batting managed a first-innings lead, and VVS Laxman's peerless 96 in the second innings set South Africa 303 to win. In response, Graeme Smith, one of the best fourth-innings batsmen ever, intimidated India as South Africa reached 63 in 12 overs. On a warm and sunny day, the pitch was at its best for batting. India were being bullied, and on came Sreesanth, who seemed to have sledged the hell out of Smith before drawing him into an ill-advised pull. That was not all, though: Sreesanth added the wickets of Jacques Kallis with one that reared towards his head from just short of a length, and Hashim Amla. India won comfortably in the end thanks to Zaheer Khan's work on the tail, but it hadn't looked so until Sreesanth intervened.

Praveen Kumar, 3 for 42, Kingston, 2011

Another Jamaican beauty of a Test pitch, and India had set West Indies 326 thanks to a second-innings hundred by Dravid. The West Indies openers, though, came out flashing, and India were on the back foot in no time. At 58 for 0 after 10 overs, they had India rattled, but Praveen had conceded only 13 of those in five overs. He was persisted with, and in his sixth over he began striking. He took out Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and conceded only 42 in his 16 overs to set up the series lead, which India held on to in the end.

BS Chandrasekhar, 6 for 52, Melbourne, 1977-78

On paper these are figures in a facile win against a Packer-depleted Australian side on a pitch seemingly tailor-made for Indian spinners. However, India had already fallen behind by two Tests in the series, so imagine the embarrassment had they lost another. Chandra took six in the first innings, too, to give India a 43-run lead, which they built merrily on with Jeff Thomson injured. Having set Australia 387 to win, Chandra and Bedi didn't give Australia a whiff. Bedi took four wickets, and Chandra took out the rest in 20 eight-ball overs.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on July 24, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    You Indian fans are so unappreciative of the effort that has won a test at lords. Kudos to the man . It was a great performance and will be immortalized forever . Give the man some credit .he has at least achieved one thing in life .hope you guys will too ?

  • Mukesh on July 23, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    Guys Agarkar's 6/41 at Adelaide is obviously not there because the article is only about the "4th" innings performances by bowlers. The same goes for Kapil Dev's performance at Lords' 86! Overall a well crafted article with proper examples.

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    People bashing Ishant after the victory need to realize he is becoming consistent, his first innings spell was good so was his 4 for in Trent Bridge. Add to it Wellington 6 for and Auckland 6 for. He missed support in Wellington. I believe he is becoming consistent, we should give him that. He is barely 25. I am not Ishant fan personally and before his NZ performances I wanted him out too....

  • Shashank on July 23, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    @sweetspot- Mate you are somewhat right in ur comment. But you forgot one thing that Mitch start his career in 2007 when Australia were unbeatable & he start his career under huge pressure after the retirement of McGrath, Gillespie, kasprowicz later Lee & other fast bowlers who dominate the fast bowling for 2-3 decades for Australia. Mitch was a good bowler from the starting but consistency as you mention was the missing thing. But after 5 year's ups & downs when he returns he return with a bang. Dominate everywhere with his pace & bounce 264 wickets in 59 test is not easy my friend. And now in present he is the most fearful bowler in world cricket right now. I want to see his consistency in SC pitches he will then he sure become a legend. He is now 32 & i think he has at least 4 more years in his career to end this streak to some close to 450 wickets or more if he will remain fit & consistent.

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    Where is Ajit Agarkar 6/41 at Oval in 2003

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    you forgot Ajith Agarkar's 6 in AUS. that was really good.

  • nalin on July 23, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    When an Australian football coach was asked what he taught an Irish footballer he said ''I taught him to play like a big man''. It has taken India so long to figure out what to do with a big man when it was blatantly obvious what he could do when he first played in Australia. Morne Morkel is regularly picked for South Africa to use his height to bowl bouncers, so India should use him as a battering ram to complement the others in the attack. England's pitiful failures have been against aggressive bowling and even PRASAD rattled them with bouncers. Not to mention JOHNSON. So DHONI should continue to use SHARMA as a bigman -concept foreign to Indians.

  • Kuldeep on July 23, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Very few good bowling performances in the fourth innings, one of the reason why India does not win many matches overseas.,

  • Mann on July 23, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    I don't care for Ishant Sharma's Bowling. He will have to take minimum 5 wickets every Test Match for making an effect. His one of performance on helping pitches will not be enough after 50 Test Matches. He probably has the least number of wickets. He is lucky to remain in the side and just when he is about to be kicked out he comes with a huge performance. however, in this innings the English crickets played extremely poor cricket. So hope that for India's Sake Ishant takes a minimum of 5 wickets per test. That is the least a frontline bowler is expected to do. he might have a record of going wicketless in most number of matches.

  • Android on July 23, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    @Tingu this are fourth innings bowling performances