HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISHANT SHARMA: Veteran Indian bowler Ishant Sharma has been a crucial part of India’s pace attack in Test Cricket for more than a decade now. The lanky bowler first shot into the limelight when he bowled that famous spell to Ricky Ponting in the Perth Test in 2008. His fiery spell troubled the great Ricky Ponting and endeared Ishant to the fans. Fondly called Lambu by his teammates, Ishant went on to lead India’s pace attack in Test Cricket after the retirement of Zaheer Khan.
Ishant’s career, especially in Test Cricket, has been a rollercoaster ride. In 33 Tests, Ishant Sharma averaged just 25.3 from 2016 to 2021. The Delhi bowler was dropped from India’s Test squad earlier this year. However, pundits believe that Ishant still has a few years of cricket left in him and that he can return to India’s Test team.
With 311 scalps in 105 Tests, Ishant is fifth on the list of highest wicket-takers for India.
Ishant’s numbers in the ODI format are also decent. Ishant has 115 wickets to his name in 80 ODIs. As Ishant Sharma celebrates his 34th birthday on September 2, let us look at his most memorable spells in Test Cricket and ODI cricket.
7/74 vs England, Lord’s Cricket Ground, 2014 (Test)
Ishant produced a dream spell in the Lord’s Test during India’s tour of England in 2014. Chasing a target of 319 runs, England looked set for victory. But Ishant had some other plans as he first dismissed a well-set Moeen Ali and then got the prized wicket of Joe Root. Ishant dismantled England’s batting line-up with a barrage of short deliveries. Ishant was adjudged as the Man of the Match for producing one of the finest spells of Test Cricket.
5/51 vs England, Birmingham, 2018 (Test)
Ishant Sharma ran through the English batting line-up in the Birmingham Test in 2018. The veteran pacer produced a remarkable spell to bundle out England on 180 on day three. Even though India lost the match by 31 runs, fans still remember Ishant’s spell in which he took his eighth five-wicket haul.
7/58 vs New Zealand, Nagpur, 2010 (Test)
Ishant’s brave efforts in the third and the final Test of New Zealand’s tour of India in Nagpur allowed his team to win the series in magnificent style. The tall fast bowler took four wickets in the first innings, breaking the back of the line-up with his ability to swing the ball both ways, taking advantage of the additional bounce on offer. He finished with figures of 4/43 as the Black Caps were bowled out for 193 runs. In the second innings, he came back stronger and bagged three crucial wickets to record impeccable match figures of 7/58.
7/117 vs Australia, Bangalore, 2008 (Test)
Australia appeared to be in a strong position after commanding centuries from Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. But Ishant and veteran Zaheer Khan hit back with devastating spells of reverse swing, sharing nine wickets among them during the first Test of the 2008 Border-Gavaskar trophy in Bangalore. Ishant bamboozled big names like Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, and Cameron White. He finished with figures of 4/77 in the first innings. Ishant struck havoc in the second innings as well clinching 3 more wickets in the match. Though the fixture ended in a draw, Ishant’s impeccable bowling prowess was on display.
4/38 vs Australia, 4th ODI, Melbourne, 2007
With the conditions favourable for fast bowling, the 19-year-old Ishant led the Indian attack well against Australia in the fourth encounter of the Commonwealth Bank Series in 2010. He clinched four important Australian wickets to reduce them to a modest score. Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni then led India’s chase to take them over the line. Ishant was named the Player of the Match for his scintillating bowling performance.
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