Nottingham: In terms of figures, it’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar who looks to be the best among Indian bowlers on Day III of the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Four for 61 off 25 overs only reflects how well the seamer has bowled, especially on a track offering little assiatnce.
But it was Ishant Sharma who triggered England’s collapse. At one stage, with Sam Robson and Gary Ballance threatening to take the game away from India, Ishant came up with a terrific spell that reduced the hosts to 172 for four from a comfortable 134 for one.
After trapping overnight batsmen Robson and Ballance leg-before, Ishant bowled a beauty that got rid of Ian Bell, who was looking solid with four delightful boundaries.
For the lanky pacer, it was all about being patient and hitting the right areas. “I just focused on being patient and tried hitting the right areas.
“On this kind of wicket, the focus should be on getting the ball to reverse more and more, and bowl according to the field… That is important,” Ishant said after the day’s play.
Along with Joe Root (78 batting), England lower-order batsmen — led by Stuart Broad — frustrated India taking the first innings total to 352 for nine at stumps after wobbling at 205 for seven at tea.
Onus now is to take England’s last wicket as quickly as possible when play resumes on Saturday before pressing for a result, Ishant stressed. “We’re still hopeful of a favourable result.
“We first need to take the last wicket quickly, get the runs and then put them back again.”
Despite the impressive show, Ishant doesn’t think experience makes him the leader of the bowling attack. “I’m no one to decide who the leader of the attack is. It’s still a learning process for everyone.
“To be honest, all of us have come here to play hard and competitive cricket. That’s the goal of each and everyone of us,” he said.
Like Bhuvneshwar and Shami, who put on 111 for the last wicket, Root and No. 11 James Anderson have already put on 54 and frustrated the visitors.
They are well on course to reduce the deficit to less than 100, which at one point looked to be an improbable task when England lost six wickets for just 68 runs.