After impressing with the ball, India’s Ishant Sharma went on to register his maiden Test half-century in Sabina Park against West Indies.
Ishant Sharma made a maiden first-class half-century last year when playing for Sussex in the County Championship. Battling with Michael Burgess, Ishant made 66 in a 153-run partnership that lasted more than three hours. If anything, it's a testimony to how good a tail-ender the lanky Indian seamer is.
While his 2010 heroics alongside VVS Laxman at Mohali to win India a Test match by one wicket is widely acknowledged, Ishant the batsman has often come in behind the likes of Mohammed Shami. Ishant has always been a resilient batsman down the order. In that Mohali innings, India were in trouble chasing 216. At 124/8 with only Laxman in, India seemed to be losing their way until Ishant faced 92 balls for 31 to help Laxman move on from the other end. He was dismissed before India overhauled the target but the partnership set the stage for India's win.
Nine years later at Kingston, he recorded his maiden Test half-century but he had shown signs of form at Antigua too when he combined with Ravindra Jadeja to push India to a competitive total. Facing 62 balls for 19 runs, he allowed Jadeja to handle his end efficiently and get a half-century.
He has faced over 60 balls in an innings in his career seven times. Two of those came in this series against the West Indies where he found his groove with the bat.
Overall, Ishant made 76 runs in the series at an average of 38. It's the best Ishant has averaged in a Test series in his career. Some of his shots during the half-century at Sabina Park were awe-inspiring. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were seen applauding Ishant's batting from the dressing room.
What's even more amazing is that West Indies had only Jason Holder scoring more than a 100 runs in the series. The home skipper aside, none of the other batsmen made more runs than Ishant in the series!
Collapsing against a potent Indian bowling attack, West Indies had no batsman walking away with respectable numbers except Holder. They played 14 players in the series and the fact that 13 of them scored less than India's No.9 batsman reflects the state their batting is in.
Seven of the top eight run-scorers in the series are Indians and Ishant comes in at No.7 with his 76 run tally. Even Ravindra Jadeja scored one less than the tall Indian seamer. Ishant also shone with the ball this series and finished as the second highest wicket-taker with 11 wickets at an average of 12.27.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Randy Brooks