|Ishant Sharma, after dismissing Ben
Stokes, on Monday. (Getty Images)
London: Biscuits after the 2011 World Cup victory and a glass of water after leaving England shell-shocked at Lord’s.
Clearly, success alone doesn’t satiate Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain.
“Kya karen, pyaas bahut lagi thi,” Dhoni told The Telegraph, grinning, when asked if the 95-run rout of England, after an incredible collapse, hadn’t quite quenched his thirst.
Well, India’s most successful captain is entitled to an extra something. Even if it’s nothing more than biscuits, as in Mumbai, or plain water here.
Dhoni, after all, led India to one of its most memorable wins overseas: At Lord’s and after having lost the toss, that too on an absolute greentop.
No more will anybody chirp that India start running for cover on being presented with a green surface.
That bit of baggage has been dumped into the Thames for good.
As significant, it’s the first victory in the post-Sachin Tendulkar era.
Given the off-field happenings at Trent Bridge, which are now the subject of a judicial inquiry by the ICC, it’s ironical that England’s innings ended with a Ravindra Jadeja throw running out James Anderson!
“It’s a fantastic win... A very fine team effort. Somebody or the other contributed over the five days,” former India captain Sourav Ganguly said.
“Mubarak ho... Kamaal ki victory rahi hai... India played so well, at the home of cricket,” lauded Sadiq Mohammed, younger brother of Hanif and Mushtaq, and a former Pakistan opener.
India’s only other Test win at Lord’s was 28 years ago, under Kapil Dev. There was a Binny in the XI then (father Roger); a Binny (son Stuart) in the XI this time as well.
Our finest moment at Lord’s was in the summer of 1983, though, when Kapil lifted the World Cup.
For decades, India’s batsmen have been at the receiving end of hostile bowling.
On Monday afternoon, however, a new chapter was written — by MoM Ishant Sharma, who had to be persuaded by Dhoni to unleash the short-pitched treatment.
Till the last ball before lunch, it had been England’s morning, but one delivery changed the flow.
Out went Moeen Ali (173 for five) and, believe it or not, the second Test was over in 67 minutes after lunch.
Some Englishmen were helpless, some reckless, but the bottom line is that India have a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series.
The day’s opening session was an eye-opener for India.
Dhoni, who made the point that he’d surely played his last Test at Lord’s, put it well: “Cricket is a great leveller and it (session No.1) showed that we consistently have to be at the top of our game.”
Ishant, finally accepting the mantle of senior bowler, had a dream (destructive, from England’s perspective) spell — five wickets in 33 balls at a cost of 24 runs.
Overall, Ishant’s figures in the second innings read 23-6-74-7. Wow!
Ishant turned on the heat on the final day, but how can one forget the contributions of centurion Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, emerging all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jadeja?
Even Cheteshwar Pujara, who chipped in with 28 and 43, very crucial runs at critical times.
Alastair Cook, meanwhile, has no plans to quit as England’s captain. Unless, of course, he gets a “tap” on a shoulder, suggesting that he take a break to regain form.
Cook acknowledged that the heat was on him.
Till his position becomes “untenable,” Cook will not give up the fight. He’s losing friends by the hour, though.
Matt Prior too. Many are convinced that his time is up.
Footnote: The vibes between the captains appears to be cold. They crossed each other at the media conference venue, but when Cook called out “MS,” the latter didn’t give the impression of wanting a one-on-one.