India pacer Ishant Sharma credits county stint with Sussex for Edgbaston display

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Ishant had picked up 5-51 in the second innings at Edgbaston.

The first Test against England might have ended in a 31-run defeat for India but there were still plenty of positives to take for Virat Kohli’s men.

Among them was pacer Ishant Sharma’s magnificent performance in the second innings.

The 29-year-old picked up his eighth five-wicket haul in Test cricket, with his figures of 5-51 helping India bowl out the hosts for 183 in their second dig.

In the end, Ishant was reprimanded for his send-off to Dawid Malan and docked 15 per cent of his match fees along with being awarded a demerit point for his misdemeanour.

For so long in his 83-match Test career, Ishant has been known as an ‘unlucky’ bowler who can bowl some devastating spells without picking up a wicket.

At Edgbaston, his perseverance was rewarded in the form of six wickets overall and the India pacer could not be more happy.

“Actually, I got tired of the tag. I am bowling well but my wicket column has always not been very good. It feels very good because I put in a lot of work. Playing for your country and taking five wickets, that too in the second innings, feels nice,” the pacer stated.

Ishant Sharma enjoyed a fruitful stint with Sussex earlier in the summer.

Ishant Sharma enjoyed a fruitful stint with Sussex earlier in the summer.

The Delhi man has credited his stint with county outfit Sussex this summer – after he missed out on an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract – as a key reason for his Edgbaston display.

“Playing County made a huge difference. In a way, I was disappointed (not playing IPL 2018), but it was good for me. I played for Sussex and bowled with the Dukes ball. One good thing was although I only played four matches, there were overs behind me, I bowled around 150-200 overs. I played one-dayers also, so the experience was really good,” Ishant explained.

Ishant’s five-wicket haul at Edgbaston was his seventh such instance in overseas Tests for India. He will now be hoping to repeat his 2014 heroics at Lord’s as the ‘home of cricket’ gets ready to host the second Test between England and India starting August 9.

Ishant’s best-ever Test figures of 7-74 had come at Lord’s in the tour of 2014 as India scripted a historic 95-run win.

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Uncapped Ollie Pope replaces Dawid Malan in England squad for Lord's Test against India

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Surrey's Ollie Pope will come in for Dawid Malan at Lord's.

England have dropped out-of-form Dawid Malan and replaced him with uncapped 20-year-old batsman Ollie Pope in their 13-man squad to face India at Lord’s this week.

Pope’s promotion is one of two changes, with the other enforced as Chris Woakes returns in place of Ben Stokes. The Durham all-rounder is absent for the second Specsavers Test while he attends Bristol Crown Court on a charge of affray.

National selector Ed Smith, who has already made a clutch of bold calls since beginning his tenure this summer, has again placed his faith in youth by selecting Pope. He is the same age as Surrey team-mate Sam Curran, who was England’s man of the match in the thrilling 31-run win at Edgbaston.

Less than 24 hours later, Pope, also a wicketkeeper but in the Test frame as yet only as a specialist batsman – has entered the equation on the back of his outstanding county form so far this season.

Smith said: “Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first-class career.

“He has reached one thousand first-class runs in just 15 matches and is the first division’s ‘stand-out’ batsman this season with 684 runs at 85.

“The selection panel believe that Ollie’s performances and character suggest he is well-suited to international cricket.”

Pope has hit three championship hundreds this summer, with a top score of 158 not out, and also an unbeaten half-century in England Lions’ wide-margin win over India A at Worcester last month.

His chances of making a Lord’s debut appear strong, although England could conceivably field both seamer Woakes and off-spinner Moeen Ali as two all-round options and rejig their batting order.

Middlesex batsman Malan has been short of runs this summer, with only 74 in five Test innings – after which Smith appears to have indicated an extended absence may be in the offing.

He said: “Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions.

“Ben Stokes is unavailable – but Chris Woakes, with some extra matches and practices under his belt, can now return to the England squad after injury.”

England Squad (v India at Lord’s)

JE Root (Captain), MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow (wkt), SCJ Broad, JC Buttler, AN Cook, SM Curran, KK Jennings, OJD Pope, JA Porter, AU Rashid, CR Woakes

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Nasser Hussain says Virat Kohli needs to shoulder some blame for India's Edgbaston loss

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Kohli's captaincy has come in for some criticism from Nasser Hussain.

Virat Kohli might have been phenomenal with the bat at Edgbaston but former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes the India man must shoulder some of the blame for his side’s 31-run loss.

The India skipper registered scored of 149 and 51 in the two innings at Edgbaston but some of the captaincy decisions made by him have not impressed Hussain.

“Kohli was phenomenal in this game. He deserved to be on the winning side for the way he played with the tail. He single-handedly brought India back into the Test match. I do think he should take some of the responsibility for the loss, though,” Hussain told Sky Sports following India’s loss.

“England were 87-7 with Sam Curran and Adil Rashid at the crease and for some reason Ravichandran Ashwin went out of the game for an hour. India lost control then – he needs to look back on his captaincy and say ‘when I’ve got a bloke who averages 19 against left-handers and a 20-year-old left-hander on strike, why did I take him off?” he asked.

Sam Curran had defied India with a superb half-century.

Sam Curran had defied India with a superb half-century.

The former England skipper instead heaped praise on young Sam Curran for his all-rounder performance to win the match for the hosts.

“He has won England this game. India might say Kohli got 200 runs but who turned this game around? A 20-year-old. It’s a phenomenal achievement. He changed the course of two innings. He came on with India 50-0 and pitched it up, swung it and got four for nothing and he then went in with England 87-7.” he said

“After his first game you thought he was maybe a bits-and-pieces cricketer and wondered whether he was quick enough, could move it enough and if he was a proper batsman. I always used to say ‘pick someone on their character more than what they are showing in county cricket’. He has character in abundance,” Hussain added.

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