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Cricket: Ishant puts India in seventh heaven


India cricket team celebrate after beating England at Lord's. Photo - AFP

London: Ishant Sharma took seven wickets as India ended a run of 15 Tests without an away victory courtesy of a 95-run win over England at Lord's on Monday.

This victory, only India's second in 17 Tests at Lord's, put the tourists 1-0 up in the five-match series after the drawn opener at Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile this result extended England's run without a Test win to 10 matches.

England, chasing 319 for victory, were bowled out for 223 with paceman Sharma taking five for 24 in 33 balls either side of lunch as the hosts demonstrated an alarming weakness against the short ball.

The slump saw England, who had been 173 for four, lose their last six wickets for 50 runs.

Sharma's final figures of seven for 74 were his best in Tests, surpassing the 25-year-old's six for 51 against New Zealand in Wellington earlier this year.

England resumed on Monday on 105 for four, having only three times in their history made more than 300 in the fourth innings to win a Test.

And only once before had a side made more batting last to win a Test at Lord's, with the West Indies piling up 344 for one against England back in 1984 thanks to a brilliant double century by Gordon Greenidge.

But on the stroke of lunch, England were 173 for four with Joe Root and Moeen Ali holding firm.
England bounced out

However, to the very last ball of the session, Ali turned his head away from a Sharma bouncer and gloved a simple catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg.

It was the end of his painstaking, three-hour, 39 and a fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Root, then unbeaten on 52.

The resumption saw several England batsmen fall to bouncer traps so obvious they might as well as have been sign-posted.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has been having a torrid season behind the stumps, decided to hook Sharma, with several men positioned for the shot deep on the legside, but didn't get over the top of the ball and duly picked out Murali Vijay at mid-wicket.

Ben Stokes then fell for a duck when he miscued an intended pull to Pujara at wide mid-on.

England's hopes of a draw now rested with Root but on 66 he too couldn't resist a bouncer, hooking Sharma straight to Stuart Binny at deep backward square leg.

During their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, England had been undone by the express pace of left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson.

Sharma was nowhere near as quick but, with England donating their wickets, he didn't need to be.
Stuart Broad also failed to cope with a rising delivery, gloving Sharma down the legside to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to leave England on the brink of defeat at 216 for nine.

The match ended when James Anderson was run out by Ravindra Jadeja's direct hit, with the two players both facing a possible ban from matches in the rest of this series following their alleged confrontation in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.

Root and Ali had come together with England in dire straits at 72 for four after losing three wickets for two runs in 20 balls on Sunday.

England had collapsed on Sunday, with under-pressure captain Alastair Cook out for just 22 to make it 27 innings since the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds.

Fellow experienced batsman Ian Bell fared even worse, bowled for one, his run without a Test century now extending to 19 innings.

Cook elected to field on a 'green top' after winning the toss and saw India decline to 147 for seven.

But, not for the first time in recent matches, England failed to polish off the tail as India made 295 in their first innings, with Ajinkya Rahane scoring 103.  

The third Test at Southampton starts on Sunday.

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