It wasn’t a humiliating loss for England, but a collective victory over an England team which is clearly in shambles.
The Indian Cricket Team has finally overcome the overseas jinx, and have won their first overseas test after a span of 3 years, and their first victory at Lord’s after 28 years. But the real accomplishment lies in how this wasn’t a victory due to a single individual effort, but a collective triumph.
The test match wasn’t without its thrills and excitement. Here are some of the top moments from the Lord’s test.
1. Rahane stands tall
Quite an ironic statement considering his petite frame, Ajinkya Rahane was instrumental in shaping up India’s batting in the first innings. If not for that blunder of a decision, he could have made an impact in the second innings as well, but nevertheless, his first innings contribution was worth gold. An innings full of patience and attacking instinct, it was a classic Test century and drove India to a respectable score in the first innings.
2. Ballance restores balance
England were in real trouble in the second day after losing 3 wickets with just 70 on the board. And then there was Ballance. After being severely criticized for a drunken pub fiasco, he slammed shut all the critics with a fine century under pressure. He, along with Moeen Ali, ensured that the Indian bowlers did not run away with the match, and a little contribution from their lower order gave England a slender lead over India.
3. Bhuvneshwar Kumar- Merchant from Meerut
There are prodigal all-rounders and then there is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been doing his job without any fuss, complaints or extravagance. After an impressive first test from the youngster, he went a step beyond at Lord’s.
Following a well composed 36 in the first innings, he wrecked havoc as he took his second consecutive fifer, and helped India to restrict England. And, it doesn’t end there.
When the cards were down, he paired up with Ravindra Jadeja, and scored a composed fifty to ensure that India had just enough runs on board to defend. Though he hasn’t reaped any MOTM awards yet, he could be rewarded with the Man of the Series if he continues going about his business the way he is right now.
4. All hail Sir Jadeja!
When your team is in trouble, with a lead of just 188, who could have saved India except “Sir” Jadeja?
Well, it wasn’t an expected knock considering his series of poor run with the bat, but what a stage to score his first ever Test fifty!
He came, he saw, he smashed and dented the confidence of the English bowlers. Perhaps the match changing innings, Jadeja marked it with a unique celebration- wielding his bat like a sword, positively reflecting the confidence shown in him by the captain. Moreover, he wasn’t a muck with the ball either. He charged and got bounce and turn off the rough, even pushing Dhoni a couple of steps back. Playing his role in the team exactly as it is meant to be.
5. The Sharma Carnage
When Ishant Sharma took two crucial wickets in the last session of the 4th innings, (the wicket of a hapless Cook) , India smelt blood. He bowled with pace and vigor, and was expected to make a reasonable impact on the last day. And what we saw was the Ishant Sharma we expected him to be after the incredible Perth test.
Moeen Ali and Root stood like a rock and almost took England to lunch unscathed.
Then he bowled the game-changing ball. A plan executed very well, he produced a short ball with some good pace and surprised Moeen, to an extent that he forgot to remove the bat from the vicinity of the ball, and ended up gloving it to short leg. Then we saw possibly one of the best spells by an Indian in overseas conditions. Coupled with Harakiri committed by the English batsmen, he bowled with the authority and pace that seemed to have deserted him for the past few years. He finally got the well deserved 5-fer, and added a couple more wickets to his tally, taking it to his all-time best of 7-74.
Ishant Sharma finally justified his talent in New Zealand, and hit all critics back with an amazing performance at Lord’s.
Knives are being sharpened, and the critics are smacking their lips. Cook is under tremendous pressure, whereas Dhoni has finally lifted the mountain off his back. Will the home captain crumble to even new lows? Will India trounce England again? Or will England make intelligent changes and make a comeback?
Lets wait till the 27th of July, for the third Test of the 5 match series, at the Rose Bowl.
by Kaushik Narayanan