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Dhoni’s advice helped: Ishant

Ishant Sharma lived up to the challenge, showing great responsibility as the strike bowler at Lord’s on Monday. His seven-wicket haul earned India a 95-run victory in the second Test.

The Man of the Match didn’t forget to thank captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his hour of glory.

“The way MSbhai handles the team, it’s really amazing. He always keeps on encouraging the guys and keeps on motivating us. Also, when you are playing for the country, you don’t need further motivation. I was confident that I would do well today.

“I think all these wickets are not for me… It is all for the captain. MSbhai told me, ‘you are tall enough, you have to bowl the bouncer, you have to use your height to good effect on this wicket’… It helped… That’s what I did and it worked for me,” said Ishant after the match.

His teammates’ contribution was equally important, said Ishant.

“The way the batsmen played in the first innings, it was tremendous. The way Ajinkya Rahane batted was amazing. He played really well to score a century. Actually his innings gave us the momentum. His innings helped us to get to a total which we thought was quite decent. It allowed us to bowl freely and aggressively.

“Then in the second innings, Murali Vijay was fantastic… He held the innings together and batted patiently. Later on, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar batted quite well.

“The efforts of these three batsmen helped us to get to reach a target which we, the bowlers, could defend.

“We bowled in the right areas and didn’t give them any freebies.

“That created pressure on the England batsmen and forced them to commit mistakes. MSbhai got the field placements right… When the catches went up, there were fielders to catch them,” he explained.

“Cricket is a great leveller… I knew that I failed to get a wicket in the first innings. But then, I also knew that I didn’t bowl poorly… I was only unlucky.

“So I understood that if I get the basics right in the second innings, I might get a few wickets.

“I had complete belief in my abilities and fortunately, I finished with seven wickets and helped the team win the Test at this iconic venue,” he said.

Patience was also a key factor, especially during the Moeen Ali and Joe Root partnership in the first session on the final day.

“It was important that we kept our patience when Moeen and Root were involved in a good partnership. We needed to hold our nerves and we needed to seize any small opportunity that we get. I am glad that we were able to do that.

“We need to keep our focus and play to our strengths in the upcoming Tests. Hopefully, we will be able to dish out the same kind of cricket that we played in these two matches in the remaining Tests.”