Maligned, humiliated by supporters at home and torn to shreds by the press, Ishant Sharma, the pacer a cricket-crazed nation loves to hate, rose like the proverbial phoenix, leading India's charge towards their first Test win at Lord's since 1986. ("MS Dhoni Instructed me to Bowl Bouncers')
Ishant Sharma finished with career-best figures of 7/74 as England crashed to a 95 run defeat in their fortress.
The lanky pacer from Delhi has always given it his all; not everytime have his efforts paid off but the long spells never went unappreciated by his teammates, especially skipper MS Dhoni. When James Faulkner carted him for 30 runs in a fateful over in Mohali to take Australia to an improbable ODI win last year, many, including his staunchest supporters felt Ishant was staring at a long stay in the cold.
Nine months later, as Ishant led a young pace attack in England, erstwhile star Zaheer Khan called on his colleague to step up. And Ishant delivered. The 25-year-old, who had managed 167 wickets from 52 Tests before the Lord's Test, delivered and how. (Action Correction Helped Ishant Sharma)
Ishant bowled his heart out on a dead Trent Bridge pitch last week to pick up 3/150. However, it took a monumental effort to rise from the shadows of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had become the first Indian pacer to pick up two successful fifers in England. IshantÂ Â bowled with pace and venom and bent his back on a surface that eased out considerably. Consequently, he extracted enough from a pitch that still had enough in it for pacers willing to put their hearts in. (Dhoni Hails Ishant's Heroic Spell)
As England set about chasing 319 in a little over five sessions, Ishant had to wait. Dhoni has preferred to use him as the third seamer this series, after early blows by Kumar and Mohammed Shami. It was not before spinner Ravindra Jadeja struck and Shami removed Gary Ballance that Ishant came into play, pocketing the next seven English wickets, as the hosts crashed to a heavy defeat.