Group A: Bowlers shine as Delhi cruise to victory
Tripathi ton in vain, Umang, Rinku give Uttar Pradesh hope of salvaging draw against Karnataka, and Assam aren't out of woods yet against Hyderabad
A gangly 19-year-old rookie versus Australia’s run-machine Ricky Ponting wasn’t expected to be much of a contest, but Ishant Sharma proved otherwise, winning the tense battle royal and praise for his lion-hearted effort during the Perth Test on India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08. He made his Test debut in Bangladesh, but it was his five-wicket haul against Pakistan on a lifeless Bangalore pitch that guaranteed him a spot in the 16-member squad for Australia. Having outfoxed Ponting in both innings in the third Test in Perth, he went on to impress in the ODI series, finishing as the highest wicket-taker to help India take the trophy. His nagging line and length continued to give the Australians a headache on their tour of India as he took 15 wickets in a 2-0 triumph, also in 2008. He showed similar commitment with the bat, memorably teaming up with VVS Laxman in 2010 to register a one-wicket win over Australia in Mohali. However, he soon dropped a few yards in pace and the honeymoon period came to a halt. After a very successful tour of the West Indies in 2011, where he was the leading wicket-taker with 22 wickets, Ishant went wayward only to find his stripe back in 2014 when he picked up 38 wickets in eight Tests including 7 for 74 in the famous Lord’s win over England. With 61 appearances, he is currently India’s most-capped Test cricketer though lack of consistency and injuries have prevented him from becoming the spearhead he was expected to be in the post-Zaheer Khan era.