India vs England: MS Dhoni's boys are rulers at Lords after 28 long years; 'wild' Ravindra Jadeja performs for 'desi' audience

Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | London | Updated: Jul 22 2014, 15:20pm hrs
Ducking Ravindra Jadejas spearing throw, James Anderson loses his footing, slips and is sprawled just short of the crease. In front of him the stumps lie shattered, around him a bunch of shrieking Indians are performing a feral dance - that was the end of the India vs England Test.

Had Anderson seen the final frame of the second Test in a dream, he would have woken up shaken and sweaty. It was worse he wasnt in bed or under a sheet, he was at Lords, wide awake, and living a nightmare choreographed by Jadeja.

Like the rest of the England team, he was experiencing trauma that wouldnt, like a bad dream, fade away in the morning sun.

After fashioning the Anderson run out, the wicket that gave India a 95-run victory and a 1-0 lead with three Tests to go, Jadeja went on a wild run to the desi section of Lords, pumping his fists and celebrating the nail-biting and long-awaited triumph.

This was Indias second Test win at the home of cricket in 80 years, the last being in 1986.

It was also their first away triumph since 2011, and came after a 15-Test drought.

About an hour before the Jadeja throw, India seemed to be choking. Skipper M S Dhoni looked lost, bowlers had their hands on their hips, fielders stared at the turf. Seen it before, said the regulars. From wanting 216 to win at the start of the day, England now needed just 146 in two sessions. But those magical 21 balls after lunch, when England scored 9 runs for the loss of 4 wickets, made the fears, apprehensions and old doubts disappear.

It started with Dhoni telling his pace spearhead Ishant Sharma to change the plan against Englands overnight batsmen, Joe Root and Moeen Ali. Their 101-run partnership was threatening. Dhoni asked Sharma to bowl short and stick to a leg-stump line. The bowler was reluctant. Dhoni wasnt in the mood for a discussion. I just thrust the ball in his hand and walked away, the captain said later.

Sharma would get all of his four wickets with short balls, that dream spell elevating him to the Lords honour board. His 7/74 were the best figures by an Indian pacer at Lords. A tall, menacing quick threatening to knock batsmens heads off, and a master tactician captain who used him perfectly it was a deadly combination that Indian cricket hadnt seen in a long time.

On Monday at Lords, Dhoni and the Indian cricket team came of age. The captains mindfreeze in Tests that saw him fail to seal the issue in Johannesburg and Wellington recently, besides during the two whitewashes in Australia and England, didnt surface. He didnt let things drift, or lose interest. In this classic Test match, Dhoni was the classic leader. In the last five days, Indian crickets T20 generation has shown that it can be worthy of wearing Test whites.

Pujaras three-hour 28, Ajinkya Rahanes pacy 108 at No. 5, Murali Vijays stubborn 95 from 247 balls, and Jadeja, millionaire with the bat and miserly with the ball. Plus, the precious Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who lost out to Ishant for the Man of the Match award.

More important than the win, Dhoni seemed to have landed a Test-match template that he had long searched for. Something that Kapil Dev had with his Devils in 1986, when India last won a Test here.

On Monday, walking down from the commentary box, his thick mop of grey hair matching the colour of his suit, Kapil was in a great mood. We had heard a lot of criticism about our players for years. Now its our time. I have just said on air that Alastair Cook should go, he said.

It had been a day on which the Indians finally found both their form and their tongue.