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Cricket: Sharma bowls India to victory over England

Ishant Sharma took seven wickets as India ended a run of 15 Tests without an away victory courtesy of a 95-run win over England at Lord's on Monday (July 21).

LONDON: Ishant Sharma took seven wickets as India ended a run of 15 Tests without an away victory courtesy of a 95-run win over England at Lord's on Monday (July 21).

This victory, only India's second in 17 Tests at Lord's, put the tourists 1-0 up in the five-match series ahead of the third Test in Southampton on Sunday after the first Test in Nottingham was drawn. England, set 319 for victory, collapsed to 223 all out on Monday's final day.

Sharma took four wickets for nine runs in 21 balls after lunch as a succession of England batsmen were undone by his bouncer. In total, the 25-year-old finished with a Test-best seven for 74 to win the man-of-the-match award.

"We are going to enjoy this, then we go to Southampton where we will aim to play the same cricket that we played at Lord's and Nottingham," Sharma said.

This result extended England's run without a Test win to 10 successive matches. However, under-pressure England captain Alastair Cook said he would not quit as skipper.

"It gets harder and harder the more we don't win and of course that heaps on you at the end of the day," Cook said.

"Until that bloke taps me on the shoulder and says 'we don't want you to captain' I'm desperate to try to turn this around for England... I'm here as long as I'm wanted."

Monday's slump saw England, who had been 173 for four, lose their last six wickets for 50 runs. Sharma's final figures surpassed the his previous Test-best six for 51 against New Zealand in Wellington earlier this year.

England resumed on Monday on 105 for four, having only three times in their history made more than 300 in the fourth innings to win a Test.

And only once before had a side made more batting last to win a Test at Lord's, with the West Indies piling up 344 for one against England back in 1984.

But on the stroke of lunch, England were 173 for four with Joe Root and Moeen Ali holding firm.

ENGLAND BOUNCED OUT

However, to the very last ball of the session, Ali turned his head away from a Sharma bouncer and gloved a simple catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg.

It was the end of his painstaking, three-hour, 39 and a fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Root, then unbeaten on 52. The resumption saw several England batsmen fall to bouncer traps so obvious they might as well as have been signposted.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has been having a torrid season behind the stumps, decided to hook Sharma, with several men positioned for the shot deep on the legside, but didn't get over the top of the ball and duly picked out Murali Vijay at mid-wicket.

Ben Stokes then fell for a duck when he miscued an intended pull to Pujara at wide mid-on.

England's hopes of a draw now rested with Root but on 66 he too couldn't resist a bouncer, hooking Sharma straight to Stuart Binny at deep backward square leg.

Stuart Broad also failed to cope with a rising delivery, gloving Sharma down the legside to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to leave England on the brink of defeat at 216 for nine.

The match ended when James Anderson was run out by Ravindra Jadeja's direct hit, with the two players both facing a possible ban from matches in the rest of this series following their alleged confrontation at Trent Bridge.

Root and Ali had come together with England in dire straits at 72 for four after losing three wickets for two runs in 20 balls on Sunday (July 20).

England had collapsed on Sunday, with opener Cook out for just 22 to make it 27 innings since the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds. Fellow experienced batsman Ian Bell fared even worse, bowled for one, his run without a Test century now extending to 19 innings.

Cook elected to field on a 'green top' after winning the toss and saw India decline to 147 for seven. But, not for the first time in recent matches, England failed to polish off the tail as India made 295 in their first innings, with Ajinkya Rahane scoring 103.

And they had India in trouble in the tourists' second innings before opener Vijay's patient 95 laid the foundation for a total of 342 that was bolstered by a dashing eighth-wicket stand of 99 in just 100 balls between the counter-attacking Jadeja (68) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (52). 

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