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

  • POSTED BY Rufus_Fuddleduck on | July 23, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    One more instance - other than Agarkar - which comes to mind is Kapil at Lord's 1986. After the tail stood with the stellar Vengsarkar and India earned a lead, Kapil blasted out Gooch, Gower and Robinson and at the end of the third day the dominance was established. The close-out on day 5 was with the inevitable hiccups on the way. India had sweated their way through the last 50 runs before Kapil came in and thumped around 20 in two overs to seal the match.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile 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 ?

  • POSTED BY TheWonderBoy 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.

  • POSTED BY 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....

  • POSTED BY social_monster09 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.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    Where is Ajit Agarkar 6/41 at Oval in 2003

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 11:39 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY NALINWIJ 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.

  • POSTED BY here2rock 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.,

  • POSTED BY himsez 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.

  • POSTED BY Rufus_Fuddleduck on | July 23, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    One more instance - other than Agarkar - which comes to mind is Kapil at Lord's 1986. After the tail stood with the stellar Vengsarkar and India earned a lead, Kapil blasted out Gooch, Gower and Robinson and at the end of the third day the dominance was established. The close-out on day 5 was with the inevitable hiccups on the way. India had sweated their way through the last 50 runs before Kapil came in and thumped around 20 in two overs to seal the match.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile 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 ?

  • POSTED BY TheWonderBoy 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.

  • POSTED BY 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....

  • POSTED BY social_monster09 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.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    Where is Ajit Agarkar 6/41 at Oval in 2003

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 11:39 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY NALINWIJ 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.

  • POSTED BY here2rock 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.,

  • POSTED BY himsez 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.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 23, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    @Tingu this are fourth innings bowling performances

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 23, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Ganesh : these are overseas performances

  • POSTED BY Aashiyer on | July 23, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    I liked Bhuvis Six-for but it does not match up with these performances

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Why isnt Srinath's 6 for against SA not there in the list

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | July 23, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    The comparisons with Mitchell Johnson aren't unwarranted. Ishant has looked as much of a threat in some series, particularly early on. Mitchell Johnson has also been ordinary for a long time, save the last couple of years when he picked up menace. Neither is a great bowler yet. Mitchell Johnson is also not great when he is getting some stick. On this count, I'd easily put Wasim Akram as the benchmark among recent greats. He never bowled rubbish.

    I dare say MSD has now given Ishant a bit more self belief and opened the door for him to surprise batsmen, instead of plodding away all the time. He will be a much better bowler for that.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Bhuvi's 6 in first innings not good enough?

  • POSTED BY anoop3301 on | July 23, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    Kapil Dev's 5 wicket haul is without doubt the best of the lot. India was already down 1-0 in the series and after the infamous Gavaskar incident, the morale of the team would not have been very high. Add to that, Kapil was injured and India was defending only 140 odd runs. Kapil really made the impossible happen. Long live Paaji !. Wish we had another cricketer anywhere as good as you.

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | July 23, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    Most of the Indian fast bowlers are not disciplined most of the time. But when they did that, it was an Indian victory overseas. BCCI need to find a good bowling coach to train them. Just wonder why they ignore fast bowlers. If there was proper training, Sreeshant, Ishant, Umesh and Aron would have been much better bowlers.

  • POSTED BY a4abhik on | July 23, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    I meant 'inside-edge OR byes' in my last comment. The missing 'or' constituted an impossible scenario 'inside-edge bye' though !

  • POSTED BY a4abhik on | July 23, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    I too do feel for Sreesanth. With his raw pace, swing and aggression, he was a diamond though unpolished. And his sharp in-cutters were treat to watch, though unluckily majority of times those yielded inside-edge byes rather than bowling the batsman out. At the end, lack of proper guidance ruined him. One of the precious talents India lost, keeping her tradition... :(

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | July 23, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    Sreesanth - what a bowler he was. That seam position was among the best in the business. What a sad story!! :(

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    It may not have come in the 4th Innings, but Chandra's 6/38 against England at the oval ranks high on the list!

  • POSTED BY cheguramana on | July 23, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    heart warming to see this list. as cricket fans we do come down very heavily on the team when they are not doing well. we seem to have a decent fast bowling attack now - Ishant, Shami, Bhuvi, Umesh, Varun, Ishwar, etc. Hope they can put together some consistent performances... and hope BCCI and our coaches know how to manage these guys better..

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Ishant is suddenly compared to Mitch/Steyn by some of my fellow Indians. We have short memories , don't we. No denying of the fact that Ishant bowled his heart out in securing India's victory. I congratulate him for that. But we are talking about 50+ tests for an international bowler of a reputed team with a worst possible average. You simply can't ignore stats , they are there to see. And we all have suffered in atleast 40 of those 50 tests as spectators. You give Binny 50 tests and then compare him with Ishant, he would definitely be miles ahead with batting average and may well even leap ahead bowling wise . Ishant has secured atleast next 3 tests for himself. He looked potent with short ball as ( god knows from where) he got his line , length , height everything right. Given how tall he is , if he can replicate this performance regularly, I am pretty Indians would come down from top of ladder as worst players of short pitched bowling. But again, this is Ishant. Who knows.....

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Agarkar's 7 for in Aidlaide

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    @Kiran: There is certainly a case for those performances to be included. However, Bedi and Prasanna played a part in that Test only after Surti and Nadkarni had already reduced NZ to 55/3. Also, Prasanna's four wickets included 3 of the last 4 (the tail). Therefore, it is entirely a matter of personal opinion and there can be no right or wrong.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    One more serious omission. In the 1986 Leeds Test between India and England, England were bundled out for 128, with Maninder Singh taking four wickets for 26. India won that Test match by 279 runs. Please get your facts right.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    Wrong data. You have missed out on Erapalli Prasanna and Bishen Singh Bedi's performances in the Auckland Test in New Zealand in 1967. Prasanna took four wickets for 40 while Bishen Bedi took 3 for 14, and these are better performances than Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth's achievements mentioned here. India went on to win that Test match by 272 runs.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | July 22, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Sreesanth....what a wasted talent :(

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | July 22, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Sreesanth....what a wasted talent :(

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    Wrong data. You have missed out on Erapalli Prasanna and Bishen Singh Bedi's performances in the Auckland Test in New Zealand in 1967. Prasanna took four wickets for 40 while Bishen Bedi took 3 for 14, and these are better performances than Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth's achievements mentioned here. India went on to win that Test match by 272 runs.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    One more serious omission. In the 1986 Leeds Test between India and England, England were bundled out for 128, with Maninder Singh taking four wickets for 26. India won that Test match by 279 runs. Please get your facts right.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    @Kiran: There is certainly a case for those performances to be included. However, Bedi and Prasanna played a part in that Test only after Surti and Nadkarni had already reduced NZ to 55/3. Also, Prasanna's four wickets included 3 of the last 4 (the tail). Therefore, it is entirely a matter of personal opinion and there can be no right or wrong.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Agarkar's 7 for in Aidlaide

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Ishant is suddenly compared to Mitch/Steyn by some of my fellow Indians. We have short memories , don't we. No denying of the fact that Ishant bowled his heart out in securing India's victory. I congratulate him for that. But we are talking about 50+ tests for an international bowler of a reputed team with a worst possible average. You simply can't ignore stats , they are there to see. And we all have suffered in atleast 40 of those 50 tests as spectators. You give Binny 50 tests and then compare him with Ishant, he would definitely be miles ahead with batting average and may well even leap ahead bowling wise . Ishant has secured atleast next 3 tests for himself. He looked potent with short ball as ( god knows from where) he got his line , length , height everything right. Given how tall he is , if he can replicate this performance regularly, I am pretty Indians would come down from top of ladder as worst players of short pitched bowling. But again, this is Ishant. Who knows.....

  • POSTED BY cheguramana on | July 23, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    heart warming to see this list. as cricket fans we do come down very heavily on the team when they are not doing well. we seem to have a decent fast bowling attack now - Ishant, Shami, Bhuvi, Umesh, Varun, Ishwar, etc. Hope they can put together some consistent performances... and hope BCCI and our coaches know how to manage these guys better..

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    It may not have come in the 4th Innings, but Chandra's 6/38 against England at the oval ranks high on the list!

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | July 23, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    Sreesanth - what a bowler he was. That seam position was among the best in the business. What a sad story!! :(

  • POSTED BY a4abhik on | July 23, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    I too do feel for Sreesanth. With his raw pace, swing and aggression, he was a diamond though unpolished. And his sharp in-cutters were treat to watch, though unluckily majority of times those yielded inside-edge byes rather than bowling the batsman out. At the end, lack of proper guidance ruined him. One of the precious talents India lost, keeping her tradition... :(