Ishant exposed England's weakness against pace

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014 16:59 hrs

India's win in the second Test was an exhilarating one. Over the years, people all over the world have been fed the tripe that Indians can’t play pace, even though the record of Indians against pace is much better than those who have pace bowlers in their domestic cricket. 

There has not been one country which has not floundered against pace, and yet, it is India that is singled out as poor players of pace bowling.
When Ishant Sharma was asked to go round the stumps and bowl bouncers, he was not sure of its success, but after that deadly bouncer that got the stubborn Moeen Ali just before lunch, there was no stopping him. The manner in which England’s batsmen perished to Ishant's short pitched barrage was to suggest that by putting on the helmet, they had left their thinking caps behind in the dressing room.

The question that needs to be asked, especially after their debacle in Australia, is whether the English can play short bowling? In the TV commentary boxes, there was so much headshaking by former English players that the cleaners that came later thought it was snow, when, in fact, it was dandruff from all that head shaking on the floor.
Rahul Dravid’s impact as batting consultant has been immediate, as the manner in which India’s lower order batsmen have refused to yield their wickets shows. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has made a strong case for batting at a higher number, and even Ishant and Shami are not giving their wickets away. 

Jadeja's approach worked, and if he can understand that bowlers at the international level will be ready for the approach and not be predictable, he will score more half centuries because his batting is otherwise built on correct lines as can be seen by some of the crisp shots that he played when he was not trying to slog.
Not many will give credit to Vijay and Pujara who ensured on day one that India did not lose wickets when the pitch was fresh and the ball was seaming around. Then Rahane’s exquisite century. 

The more one sees of him the more it strikes how much time he has to play the ball, and then with how much style he deals with it. They were all heroes but it was a team effort no doubt and one which made all of us feel taller than we are. 

There was cricket also in other parts of the world with Dale Steyn demolishing Sri Lanka for a rare win in that country and Afghanistan playing Zimbabwe. 

Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza was the standout performer in the one-day series, and it is he and not any of the Test players who is the Ceat International cricketer of the week.

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