Our former Knight Ishant Sharma literally stands tall (6’4”) among all his contemporary fast-bowlers. The lanky Delhi lad completed his 300th Test wicket today and we couldn’t help but reminisce his brilliance that we have been catered to in the past 14 years.
He has had his share of misfortunes, injuries, dull phases and yet the fact that he is just two Tests short of playing his 100th Test shows that he has been trusted by the Indian team management time and again.
Ishant made his debut in 2007 against Bangladesh but it was his 5-118 against Pakistan in Bangalore later in the same year that carved out his niche as a promising speedster. His consistency with the speed (approx. in 140kmph range) and his propensity to hit the deck hard with his high arm action caused serious troubles for the oppositions many a times. We certainly remember his blistering spell at WACA back in 2008 when Ricky Ponting had no answer to his wizardry.
Ishant has shown glimpses of his genius quite often in the first 10 years of his career but inconsistencies remained as a thorn in the flesh until recently. Since 2018, Ishant has been a more regular face in Team India and he has come a long way in evolving as a bowler. Today we will look back at some of his top bowling performances in Test cricket.
2014 vs England – 7-74
India were playing the second Investec Test in Lords. After being bundled out for 295 and conceding a 24-run first innings lead to England, we need a miracle. Surprisingly Ishant didn’t take a single wicket in the first innings but what followed in the second innings led India to a memorable victory.
Ishant ran riot through the English batting line-up sending back Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad! It was after 28 years when India were scripting a victory at Lord’s and the man of the moment was Ishant for his feisty 7-74.
2014 vs New Zealand - 6-51
It was Valentine’s Day and it seems Ishant was in a mood to express his love to the Kiwi counterparts. Even though the match ended on a draw, Ishant’s ‘sixer’ will surely be one of his best bowling innings. Those six wickets included Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling and Tim Southee.
2011 vs West Indies – 6-55
It was one of those matches which turned out to be a bowler's boon. Neither India nor West Indies could score beyond the 200s but West Indies managed to scrape out a draw in the end. It was Ishant again, who impressed with a 6-55 in the first innings. He picked up wickets both in the top and middle order before coming back to wipe out the tail. Adrian Barath, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devendra Bishoo, Daren Sammy, Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards were his victims.
2014 vs New Zealand – 6-134
New Zealand were in for some early shocks as Ishant Sharma removed Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor to reduce them to 30-3. But Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson wreaked havoc with a double-century and a century respectively to take the game away from India. It was Ishant who eventually dismissed McCullum for 224 and sent back Corey Anderson, BJ Watling and Ish Sodhi to return figures of 6-134. Even though India lost this match, Ishant was the only bowler to have made some difference when others failed. He also took 3 wickets in the second innings.
2019 vs Bangladesh - 5-22
Eden Gardens was hosting the first-ever Pink Ball day-night Test match in the history of cricket and it took just three days for India to wrap up the game, courtesy some superlative bowling from Ishant. This was Ishant’s best figures at home and Bangladesh’s one of the sorriest figures. After bowling the visitors out for 106, India declared on 347 and skittled out Bangladesh again for 195 runs in the second innings. After a fifer in the first innings, Ishant also picked up 4 wickets in the second innings and was adjudged the Man of the Match.