Ishant Sharma proved his critics wrong with a career best of 7 for 74 as England dramatically collapsed after lunch on the final day at Lord’s for a 95-run defeat. After a flat morning session, Skipper MS Dhoni came up with a master stroke ordering Ishant Sharma to use his height and dig in short balls at the English batsmen. Although the move conceded too many runs at the start it brought out remarkable results as the English players found it too difficult to resist from having a go at them.
The final day’s play started with India clearly as the favourties as England were 105 for 4 chasing a target of 319. Overcast conditions meant that rain could be there any moment. However, there was no intervention and England fought back through the overnight pair of Joe Root and Moeen Ali. The entire first session was going England’s way until the final ball of the session which saw Moeen Ali duck blindly under a short ball from Ishant Sharma and gloving it to short leg.
It was a huge relief for India as England were entertaining their chances of a victory with just 146 more runs to score. Moeen Ali lived dangerously in his 147-ball stay which yielded 39. His partnership for the 5th wicket with Joe Root was worth 101 runs.
After lunch, more drama was to follow as the Indians kept on dishing out the short balls. The first two overs were clobbered for 20 runs and yet Ishant Sharma was asked to continue banging it mid way. Out of nowhere, an aggressive Matt Prior perished when his full-blooded pull sailed in the air and straight to Murali Vijay at deep mid wicket. With that the writing was on the wall that Matt Prior had sacrificed his England career with that pull shot.
Ben Stokes was a lame duck as he went for a pull in the air from outside off, well across the line to Ishant Sharma which had England losing its seventh wicket. Just three balls later, Joe Root pulled Ishant Sharma flat in the air but straight at the throat of Stuart Binny at deep backward squareleg. Joe Root ended up with 66 which came in 146 balls with 7 fours.
Ishant got his 7th wicket when he had Stuart Broad caught down the legside fending off a short one off the rib cage. The final wicket came through a run out from Ravindra Jadeja off his own bowling as James Anderson nervously set off for a run at the striker’s end all on his own.
England from 173 for 4 slipped to 223 all out in a hurry without having to play the second new ball which looked to be the only saviour for India at one point of time. Ishant Sharma for his second innings’ bowling got the Man of the Match award ahead of the likes of Rahane, Bhuvneshwar and Jadeja.
This was a historic win for India as it was only the second Test victory at Lord’s after 1986! It was also more than three years that India had won its last Test overseas.