Sadly, but finally, one of the best Test series played in recent times has concluded. It is a series which enthralled the entire cricket fraternity with nail-biting finishes. It is a series where individuals mesmerized with their charm and prowess. It had 'fairy-tale' finales. It had career saving endings.
It is also a series which will be remembered as an enterprise for the revival of Test cricket. Maybe the 4-1 scoreline won't resemble that. But, it is truly a 'celebration of Test cricket'. We will have a look at some best bowling performances in the series.
#6 Sam Curran's 4-74 at Edgbaston, first Test
At Edgbaston, in reply to England's 287, India started well with a 50-run partnership. But, it was young Sam Curran's spell tilted the Test in hosts favour. First, he got Murali Vijay LBW, then bowled KL Rahul in the same over. In his next over, he foxed Dhawan to the keeper with an away swinger.
Later, he bamboozled Hardik Pandya with an in-swinging yorker. Truly, this is a mesmerizing spell from a youngster. Like batting, he had some crucial breakthroughs while bowling like getting Kohli in first innings of the fourth Test. He's deservedly adjudged Man of the Series.
#5 Ishant Sharma's 5-51 at Edgbaston, first Test
In India's second Test of 2014 tour, Ishant had a match-winning spell at Lord's where he bounced the English batsmen one after the other. This time around, in the first Test itself he created tremors in opposition camp with his fiery spell. Due to his mind-boggling spell, England were slipped to 87-7. If not for Curran's heroics, Ishant's spell might have given India a perfect start to the series.
#4 Jasprit Bumrah's 5-85 at Trent Bridge, third Test
After missing major portion of the tour, Jasprit Bumrah finally played in India's crucial fixture. He didn't disappoint the team management as he got two wickets during England's collapse in first innings.
But it was his spell in the second innings where he ended Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes gritty 168-run partnership. Then, he immediately removed Bairstow and Woakes. Though a no-ball denied him a five-wicket haul, he came back to remove Broad to get his second five-wicket haul in Tests.
#3 Hardik Pandya's 5-28 at Trent Bridge, third Test
Before this Test, Hardik Pandya faced a lot of criticism from former greats. Even he didn't do much with the ball in India's previous Tests. With a point to prove, he bowled a dream spell which helped in rolling over the hosts inside a session.
With the first ball of his spell, he removed Root. From there on in just a six over spell, he scalped five wickets. His first five-wicket haul gave India 168 runs lead which paved way for their win.
#2 Moeen Ali's 5-63 & 4-71 at Southampton, fourth Test
Moeen Ali, with his match-winning spells, won the fourth Test for England. In first innings, he used the rough created by fast bowlers to ran through India's lower middle order to end with 5-63. In second innings, he bowled even more remarkably. When Kohli-Rahane's 100 run stand is stealing the show, he bowled patiently and removed both the men in quick succession to seal the match and series for England. His 9-134 match figures deservedly won him the Man of the Match.
#1 James Anderson's 5-20 & 4-23 at Lord's, second Test
James Anderson had a perfect love affair with Lord's. Out of his 564 scalps till date, he accounted 100 at 'home of cricket'. With favourable cloudy conditions, he wrecked havoc in the Indian batting line-up. First, he removed both the openers. Then, he ended Rahane's defiance. Later, he removed Kuldeep and Ishant. His figures read 13.2-5-20-5.
His consistency didn't let the visitors to a start as they bundled out for 107 & 130. The swing magician had another four wickets in the second innings to end with astonishing match figures of 9 wickets for 43 runs. He had a terrific series with the ball. But he will regret not getting Kohli for at least once.