Fast bowler Ishant Sharma had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders coming into the first Test in Birmingham against England.
Virat Kohli’s men entered the first Test without their premier fast bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. That meant the Delhi pacer had to make up for their absence and lead the Indian attack.
He did that in fine fashion on Friday, picking up 5-51 to bring India right back into the Test and give the visitors great shot at victory.
Here we analyse the performance of Ishant in the second innings on Friday.
RUNS CONCEDED: 51
Ishant was at his absolute best on Friday. Getting the ball to move a long way after pitching, Ishant made England batsmen play at the deliveries and his bowling from around the wicket was especially effective. The 29-year-old took four wickets either side of lunch and finished with a five-for which set up the match nicely. He generally comes up with one brilliant spell every Test and luckily for India, it came at a critical juncture.
His angles. Ishant was getting the ball to move considerably after pitching and he used different angles to the left-handed Dawid Malan and Ben Stokes. The acute change was directed at the stumps, which meant both batsmen had to play at it but could only manage an edge.
He got Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler with late away moving deliveries bowled from slightly wide of the crease. A masterclass in control and execution.
Started to lose his line once Sam Curran and Adil Rashid showed some defiance and went after the ball with hard hands. Ishant should have stuck to his original plan of bowling at the six stump as there was enough help on offer and the lower-order batsmen might have nicked the ball sooner rather than later. After reducing England to 87-7, he should have finished things off in that spell.
Ishant Sharma has turned this match. With England's powerful middle order still to bat, they had a chance of swelling their lead, but India's WinViz now stands at 97%, and they smell blood. #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/v4ktJmpRRV— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) August 3, 2018
VERDICT: 8 out of 10
One of the finest efforts from Ishant when the team needed it the most. Had England’s top-order taken the score past 100, India would have been batted out of the Test by the second session on Friday. Thirteen overs of high quality seam and pace bowling from the leader of the pack. Showed he is capable of carrying the burden in the absence of star pacers.
INDIA’S SLIP CATCHING
It’s one thing to get the edges, another to hold on to the catches. Just ask Dawid Malan who grassed chances in both innings. During Ishant’s spell either side of lunch, India held on to some tough chances. Ajinkya Rahane held onto a fine opportunity off Malan at gully while Virat Kohli held on a fine chance off Stokes. India’s slip catching faltered later in the innings, which showed how important slip fielders are in such conditions.
Ishant has the tendency to bowl no-balls, given his tall frame. He did bowl a no-ball in the second innings. But more importantly, it was his dismissal of Jos Buttler that almost wasn’t as he just about managed to get some part of his foot behind the line. No other Indian bowler bowled a no ball in the second innings and had Buttler’s dismissal been reversed, it could have proven costly.
India fast bowler Mohammed Shami was excellent on the opening day of the first Test against England in Birmingham. Bowling with high intensity from the first over itself, Shami maintained a tight line and bowled at good pace throughout the day.
His only had two wickets to show for his efforts but Shami posed tough questions in every spell and was a treat to watch. What made his effort even more remarkable is the fact it came after a tough few months earlier in the year where he met with an accident and was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife.
Shami proved why he is valued so highly by the Indians team. Here is an analysis of his effort on Wednesday.
RUNS CONCEDED: 64
The one bowler who was expected to be undercooked coming into the first Test turned out to be one of the most effective. Shami bowled with venom, touching 90mph and getting late swing all day. He beat the bat numerous times with extravagant swing and on another day would have ended with five wickets. He generally takes his time to get into the groove but on Wednesday, Shami was spot on.
Pace and swing. Shami pitched the ball up and moved the ball both ways. His attack from round the stumps to the left handed Keaton Jennings and Dawid Malan was excellent as he got the ball to hurry of the surface. He was the only Indian quick to hit the bat hard. If he keeps up this form, India will be well served.
This is the Shami India were looking for in South Africa. #ENGvIND— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) August 1, 2018
When you get enough help from the pitch, the onus is on you to make it count. No point beating the bat all day and ending up with just two scalps. Shami’s experience should have told him to change his line of attack to get nicks, lbw or bowled. When the going is good, you need to cash in as a bowler because there will be days when you bowl on tracks flat as a table.
VERDICT: 7 out of 10
It could have been so much more in the wickets column. But can’t fault Shami for the skill and discipline he showed. Has given India great hope that they can get 20 wickets quickly even without Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in England.
England captain Joe Root missed out on yet another Test ton as he was run out by Virat Kohli for 80 on the opening day of the first Test in Birmingham.
Root looked in fine touch and was nearing his first century after 10 straight fifties. But in the 63rd over, Jonny Bairstow tucked Ravi Ashwin to midwicket and Root decided to go for a risky second.
Kohli swooped in from mid-wicket, collected the ball, turned around and threw the ball in one motion. Root was found short at the non-striker’s end as the India skipper got a direct hit.
The India captain, as expected, was thrilled and made everyone know about it. Along with his usual extravagant celebration and finger-on-the-lips sign, Kohli also did the ‘mic drop’ sign.
Cricket fans will remember Root did the ‘mic drop’ celebration after scoring a series-winning century in the Leeds ODI against India. After that celebration, Root said he immediately regretted his celebration, which he called a ‘car crash’.
But the Indians, and Kohli, haven’t forgotten. See the video below.