IND vs ENG: Ishant Sharma picks up 300 Test wickets

India vs England, 1st Test: Before Ishant Sharma, Indian bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan, have all reached the landmark.

Ishant Sharma

Ishant Sharma bowls during second day's play at the first India vs England Test match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.   -  SPORTZPICS/BCCI

When the lanky Ishant Sharma trapped Dan Lawrence leg-before on day four of the first Test at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, he reached a significant milestone.

Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan and now Ishant. The 300-wicket club in Tests for Indian pacemen is elite in nature.

The landmark reflects sweat, resilience and toil apart from longevity, ability to bounce back from injuries and deliver for his team consistently.

Ishant is 32 now but was a lot younger when he made his Test debut as a tearaway against Bangladesh in 2007.

Stat Attack: Ravichandran Ashwin, Anil Kumble, and Harbhajan Singh are the Indian spinners who have reached the landmark.

It is said the then Indian selection panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar had one look at him in a domestic game and was so impressed with his speed and bounce that he soon included him in the Indian team.

When he began his career, the tall Ishant extracted lift with his high-arm action but primarily brought the ball into the right-hander.

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His fiery spell to Aussie legend Ricky Ponting in the Perth Test of 2008 is still remembered for its hostility and control. At the end of his burst, Ishant, undaunted by reputations, got his man.

Stat Attack: Ishant Sharma is the slowest Indian bowler to pick 300 wickets in 98 matches, with Ashwin being the fastest to the spot in 54 matches, followed by Kumble (66), Harbhajan (72), Kapil (83) and Zaheer (89). Ashwin, in fact, is the fastest international bowler to have crossed the milestone.

In the subsequent years Ishant was a regular feature in the Indian attack but without the sort of strike-rate that would take him a level higher.    

He was tending to be a tad shorter in length - he needed to pitch the ball up - and did not have a potent away-going delivery.

There has been a remarkable change in Ishant in the last four years though. He is now pitching the ball up and moving the ball away from the right-hander or getting it to straighten. His bowling now has the cutting edge.

Stat Attack: Ishant Sharma has now also picked up 100 Test wickets in India. He is only the fourth Indian pacer to do so after Kapil (219), Javagal Srinath (108) and Zaheer (104).

During this period, his average is around 20 and he has been the senior man of a resurgent and potent Indian pace pack.

The ongoing match is Ishant’s 98th Test. His home and away record reads: 101 wickets in 38 home Tests at 31.05 and 199 scalps in 60 matches on foreign soil at 32.88.

Ishant will reach another milestone soon. His 100th Test. He is the contemporary Indian pace attack’s long-distance man.

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