1986 was the last time India had won a Test at Lord’s. It has taken 28 years, but India have finally broken the jinx. It needed some sensational performances for India to pull off what looked like an impossible task after they were asked to bat first on a green top. Here’s a look at the five men whose performances stood out during the course of the Test.
Ajinkya Rahane: Had it not been for Rahane, India might well have ended up on the losing side at Lord’s. Inserted into bat on a seamer’s paradise, India had slumped to 145 for 7. Rahane however played an innings of great maturity to rescue India. First, in the company of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he built a partnership that steadied India. And once set, he took on the bowlers to complete what was a magnificent century. His 103 from 154 balls featured 15 fours and 1 six, and once India recovered to 295, they were always in the game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: It istoo early to call him an all-rounder yet, but Kumar will certainly not bat at number nine for too long the way he is scoring runs. His 36 and 52 – the latter being his third half-century in four innings – were worth their weight in gold. If not for his contributions, India might not have been able to set a highly challenging target for England. Also, his six-for in the first innings ensured that England’s lead was reduced to a slender one. It was a wonderful exhibition of medium pace bowling under the conditions.
Murali Vijay: He may not have got a hundred, but his 95 was instrumental in India’s win. Vijay played what was the perfect Test knock under the circumstances. He left a majority of the balls alone to frustrate the Englishmen. Vijay’s vigil lasted 247 balls, which was proof enough of his patience and perseverance. He held the innings together even as the innings threatened to crumble.
Ravindra Jadeja: There was tremendous pressure on Jadeja when he went into bat on the fourth day. India weren’t in a comfortable zone as far as the lead was concerned, and Jadeja was yet to prove his Test prowess, failing to register even a half-century. But, he rose to the occasion with a scintillating knock. True, Jadeja took a few risks en route to his enterprising 68 from 57 balls, but he must have learnt that it is probably the best way for him to succeed.
Ishant Sharma: Till the final day of the Test, Ishant had done nothing of note at all. He went wicketless in the first innings, and failed to contribute much with the bat as well. However, he rose to the occasion, to bowl one of finest spells at Lord’s. Indian bowlers have rarely bounced out opponents, but Ishant found his groove at Lord’s and, in Mitchell Johnson-esque undid a number of top England batsmen with the short ball. It was a terrific spell, which culminated in a memorable, unforgettable win for the Indians.
--By A Cricket Analyst