2nd Test: Magical Sharma picks up seven in India’s victory

Tourists break away-win drought with 95-run triumph over England.

Afp July 21, 2014

LONDON: Ishant Sharma took seven wickets as India ended a run of 15 Tests without an away victory, courtesy a 95-run win over England at Lord’s on Monday.

The victory, India’s second in 17 Tests at Lord’s, put the tourists 1-0 up in the five-match series ahead of the third Test in Southampton on Sunday after the first Test in Nottingham was drawn.

England, set 319 for victory, collapsed to 223 all out on Monday’s final day.

Sharma took four wickets for nine runs in 21 balls after lunch as a succession of England batsmen were undone by his bouncer.

In total, the 25-year-old finished with a Test-best seven for 74 to win the man-of-the-match award.

“We are going to enjoy this, and then we go to Southampton where we will aim to play the same cricket that we played at Lord’s and Nottingham,” said Sharma.

The result extended England’s run without a Test win to 10 successive matches.

However, under-pressure England captain Alastair Cook said he would not quit as skipper.

“It gets harder and harder the more we don’t win, and of course that heaps on you at the end of the day,” said Cook.

“Until that bloke taps me on the shoulder and says ‘we don’t want you to captain’, I’m desperate to try to turn this around for England...I’m here as long as I’m wanted.”

Monday’s slump saw England, who had been 173 for four, lose their last six wickets for 50 runs.

Sharma’s final figures surpassed his previous Test-best six for 51 against New Zealand in Wellington earlier this year.

England resumed Monday on 105 for four, having only three times in their history made more than 300 in the fourth innings to win a Test.

But on the stroke of lunch, England were 173 for four with Joe Root and Moeen Ali holding firm.

However, to the very last ball of the session, Moeen turned his head away from a Sharma bouncer and gloved a simple catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg.

It was the end of his painstaking, three-hour, 39 and a fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Root, then unbeaten on 52.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.

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