On this day in 2014, Ishant Sharma produced one of the most memorable spells in the history of Indian cricket as the right-arm paceman 'bounced' England out at Lord's and gave India a historic Test victory. Ishant was aggressive and kept attacking the English batsmen with short deliveries, eventually finishing with figures of 7 for 74.
The MS Dhoni-led side won the encounter by 95 runs, their first overseas Test win in three years, and took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. However, they lost the remaining three games and conceded the series 1-3.
The first Test between the two sides at Trent Bridge, Nottingham ended in a draw as both India and England scored over 400 runs in their first innings. Apart from Virat Kohli, every Indian batsman contributed and were in good form coming into the second Test. Prior to this famous victory, India had won just one Test in 82 years at the Mecca of cricket.
SHORT SHORT, BANG BANG!
Asked to bat, the likes of M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli all got starts but were dismissed in their 20s. Then there was a mini-collapse as India lost Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny in the space of 10 overs and were reduced to 145 for 7.
Ajinkya Rahane at the other end was batting with a positive intent but needed an ally to propel India to a fighting first innings score. James Anderson was getting the ball to move both ways but Rahane batted freely and got good support from the tailenders. He first added 90 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (36) for the seventh wicket and then put on 40 with Mohammed Shami (19).
In the process, Rahane also completed his century but was dismissed soon after for 103, a knock studded with 15 fours and a six. India managed 295 in their first essay, with Anderson picking up four wickets with Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes claiming two each.
After scoring vital runs down the order, Bhuvneshwar dismantled England's top order by dismissing Alastair Cook, Sam Robson and Ian Bell as the home team were reduced to 70 for 3. Joe Root too couldn't contribute much but Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali (32) put on 98 runs for the fifth wicket to put England on the front foot. In the process, Ballance also brought up his century before he became Bhuvneshwar's fourth victim.
Liam Plunkett scored a counter-attacking 55* and his 39-run stand with Anderson for the final wicket gave England a 24-run lead. For India, Bhuvneshwar took six wickets, while Jadeja scalped two with his left-arm spin.
In their second essay, India's top three - Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Pujara - all chipped in. Dhawan scored a free-flowing 31, while Pujara managed 43 and added 78 runs with Vijay. The latter however batted with tremendous patience and missed out on a well-deserved hundred by just five runs. Vijay scored 95 off 247 and was the seventh wicket to fall. India were 235 for 7 at that stage, leading by 211 runs, and by then the surface wasn't offering much to the bowlers.
That's when Jadeja (68) and Bhuvneshwar (52) joined hands and shared a 99-run association for the eighth wicket. Both of them smashed fifties and got India past the 300-run mark. Thanks to them, India managed to set England a 319-run target.
In response, the home team lost their top-four wickets with just 72 runs on the board but that's when Root and Moeen dug in and added 101 runs for the fifth wicket. The pitch was offering no movement and India were running out of time. Both batsmen were set and England needed less than 150 to secure a win. That's when Dhoni gave the ball to Ishant and asked him to keep bowling bouncers. The ploy paid off as Ishant got rid of Moeen with a well-directed bouncer just before the end of the first session.
"Moeen Ali and Root were playing well so Mahi bhai asked me to start bowling short as nothing was happening. He told me to bowl short till we take the new ball. Just before lunch Moeen Ali was dismissed. While we were going in for lunch Mahi bhai told me that he will make me bowl in short spells and that I had to bowl short. I told him that now he should just let me bowl till the end of the match,” Ishant recently said on Gaurav Kapur’s Youtube show Isolation Premier League.
In the second session, Dhoni told Ishant to persist with the same strategy and gave him a deep fine leg, a deep square leg and a deep midwicket. The paceman then dismissed Prior, Stokes and Root in the space of seven deliveries and turned the match completely in India's favour. He also got rid of Broad and returned career-best figures of 7 for 74. He bowled eight overs in a row and in that spell picked up 5 for 41.
It was Jadeja who brought the curtain down by running out Anderson and giving India a historic win. Ishant was named Player of the Match for his performance in the second innings.
The visiting side couldn't build on the momentum and were thumped in the final three Tests, losing the series 3-1. India however did manage to win the ODI series 3-1, while losing the solitary T20 by three runs at Edgbaston.