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Ishant back at his best

He was the bowler expected to hold the key for India but Ishant Sharma just couldn't figure out the angles and the slope of Lord's to go wicketless in the first innings.

cricket Updated: Jul 25, 2011 02:01 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

He was the bowler expected to hold the key for India but Ishant Sharma just couldn't figure out the angles and the slope of Lord's to go wicketless in the first innings.

Come the second essay and the England batsmen were in for a shock.

Bowling coach Eric Simons says Sharma with confidence and technique in place is a different proposition. We saw on the fourth day what he meant.

In a Curtly Ambrose-like performance, Sharma took three wickets for one run in 16 balls to put the brakes on the hosts.
His length was fuller and the ball was skidding off the wicket quicker. By keeping the ball up, he was extracting appreciable late movement. The change in approach was apparent too. If he was all worked up on the first day, he was calm and bowling with a plan on Saturday.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/25_07_11_pg17f.jpg

It is still early days for the 22-year-old. But he has already produced spells which have become part of Indian cricket's folklore. The breathtaking sight of his long, flowing run-up unleashing those snaking deliveries brought back memories of Perth and Galle, 2008.

Sharma had mesmerised Ricky Ponting at Perth to open the gates for India’s historic win. And equally stunning was the way he bowled against Sri Lanka at Galle to help India win.

Those spells were followed by a long period of struggle. Things started to fall back in place for him during the West Indies series last month, before the first innings here again put the doubts back.

However, a few tips are always welcome when you are trying to adjust to new conditions and Sharma, it was learnt, had a chat with Wasim Akram. “Pitch it up and let it swing,” Akram reportedly told him. That is exactly what Sharma did.