July 21, 2014: India conquers Lord’s under MS Dhoni, humiliation for England at Home of Cricket

India failed to register an overseas Test win in over three years' time, but thanks to Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma’s inspired spell to go with skipper MS Dhoni's tactical brilliance, the visitors sealed an epic victory at Lord’s after 28 years.

July 21, 2014: India conquers Lord’s under MS Dhoni, humiliation for England at Home of Cricket
Ishant Sharma turned into a destroyer and killed any chance of England saving the Test. (Photo credit: AFP)

The victory was one wicket away for Team India and history was in sight. With Liam Plunkett and James Anderson fighting the lost battle, chasing 103 was beyond contention. All it needed for Team India to clinch game was a moment of magic in the field.

A run-out ended it all, as a throw from Ravindra Jadeja found Anderson short of the crease, and India, quite understandably underdogs on a green top at Lord’s, miraculously, won the match.

The Lord’s Test

Alastair Cook had won the toss at the Home of Cricket and put India in first. Even as he didn’t find much support, Ajinkya Rahane stayed put and scored a century, pulling India out of trouble. The visitors posted 295.

In reply, Gary Balance scored a hundred as well and Liam Plunkett’s efforts helped England reach 319. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the star for India with six wickets.

In the second innings, India posted 342 as Murali Vijay missed out on a well-deserved century by five runs, while Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar posted 50-plus scores. The hosts needed 319 runs to win.

England faces a barrage of bouncers, courtesy of Ishant

Jadeja, still in the flow, provided the first breakthrough as he trapped Sam Robson LBW. Mohammed Shami picked up a wicket on his first ball of the innings, as Balance poked one to MS Dhoni. From there on, Ishant Sharma took over the responsibility.

Within two overs, he scalped the wickets of Ian Bell and Cook with good length deliveries. The commentator says, “Ishant Sharma is the man for India in this spell to destroy England’s hopes.” And well, he indeed turned into a destroyer and killed any chance of England saving the Test.

As Moeen Ali and Joe Root built a 101-run partnership, Ishant came back and with a short ball strategy, made the former nick one to short leg, leaving England at 173/5, on the last ball before lunch on the final day.

Another short ball sent Matt Prior to the hut, who had hit the lanky pacer for two boundaries earlier. Ishant reached his five-fer after getting Ben Stokes for a duck. In his last 18 legal balls, he took four wickets for 17 runs. With a flurry of short balls, the English batsmen kept committing the same mistake as Root pulled one to deep square leg.

Ishant’s career-best performance of 7/74 came to an end with Stuart Broad’s wicket, who tickled one to MS Dhoni behind the wickets. The last straw of England’s innings was pulled out when Jadeja ran out James Anderson as England slumped to a 95-run defeat.

MS Dhoni’s unrelenting faith in Ishant Sharma

The skipper had time and again relied on Ishant. Remember the 2013 Champions Trophy final against England? Just when the match seemed to be going out of hand, Ishant picked up two vital wickets to turn the match on its head. This time as well, when Ali and Root were sailing through their partnership, Ishant provided the much-needed breakthrough.

The pacer too credited Dhoni for the wickets. He told after winning the Man of the Match award, “I think all these wickets are not for me, it is for the captain. He told me, ‘You are tall enough, you have to bowl the bouncer,’ that’s what I did and it worked for me.”

This victory ensured an end to India’s run of over three years without an away Test win. In 28 years, it was only the second time that India had won a Test at Lord’s.

 

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