You have to say that this time the odds were totally stacked against India. A look at all the odds that India overcame in a truly memorable victory…
1. Pitch/Toss: The Indian batsmen must have done a double take when they saw the pitch. It has got to be one of the greenest first day pitches of all time. From certain camera angles, you couldn’t even spot the pitch at the start of the Test so green it was, blending completely in the background.
This is the kind of pitches that India gets 100 all down. Even if India had touched 200, fans would have called it a good effort. That way their 295 was a superlative, gritty and fighting effort.
On the second day the pitch eased up and England would have fancied their chances of getting 400+. The Indian bowling attack stuck to their task and toiled even when the going wasn’t good to limit the first innings lead to just 24.
2. The Anderson-Jadeja spat: This hung like a dark cloud over the Lord’s Test. The faceoff between England fast bowler James Anderson and India all-rounder Sir Ravindra Jadeja had really upset the team.
But India has a way of bouncing back from such situations as Jellybeangate and Monkeygate showed in the past.
Now just look at the personal battle between Jadeja and Anderson:
In England’s first innings, Jadeja bagged the wicket of Anderson. In India’s second innings, Jadeja blasted a quick fire half century and targeted Anderson.
The last wicket that fell which won us victory at Lord’s after 28 years was the scalp of Anderson and Jadeja was involved in the run-out!
3. An inexperienced team: Last time we probably had one of our most experienced Test teams and still we lost 0-4 in 2011. Usually teams have a mix of experience and inexperience, but this time most of the team was visiting England for the first time.
They all performed beautifully. Ajinkya Rahane hit a century. Murali Vijay hit a 95. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja gave fine all-round performances.
4. Umpiring/Misses: Many a times India when they face bad umpiring errors they fall apart. In the second innings, India was coasting at 118-1 when they lost two quick wickets. Rahane avoided the hat-trick dismissal.
However when the ball bounced off his arm-guard, he was declared out and we were soon reeling at 123-4. India fought hard and set England a match-winning victory target of 319. When England batted last, Moeen Ali seemed to have all the luck of the world when he survived a few close LBW shouts and had a chance and half-chances.
He and James Root put on a century partnership and in the end it was England that crashed from 173-4 to 223 all down.
5. Breaking a losing streak: When you are winning, then sometimes you get away with the silliest of mistakes.And when you are losing it requires a supreme effort to come back to your winning ways.
The best examples are Johannesburg and Wellington, where we snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. We even let the advantage slip at Trent Bridge.
But it was a supreme all-round effort where everyone fought for victory. In the end India outwitted England in every department of the game.
Ishant’s inconsistency: India’s bowling spearhead Ishant Sharma is a conundrum. Extremely talented, he goes for many phases without taking a single wicket.He took a 5 wicket Test innings haul in 2007 and waited 2011 for his next two.
Again he went without one in 2012 and 2013. 2014 has been a revelation. In February he took two 6-wicket hauls in New Zealand. Going by his record he seemed done for a couple of years.
But what a time he chose to take his first 7-wicket haul! Captain MS Dhoni has been extremely lucky in ODIs, home Tests and T20s. Is a new era starting for him for foreign Tests!
Acche din aa gaye hai!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.