KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be delighted with the efforts of his bowlers in their series victory over the West Indies, despite drawing the third Test.
A century from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, on the back of a debut ton from Kirk Edwards, frustrated India in Dominica, as they eventually abandoned their chase of 180 on 94-3.
World number one ranked side India now turn their attentions to England and the first Test at Lord’s, which gets underway on 21 July. It will be the 100th Test between the two nations and the 2,000th in Test history.
India’s winning margin was restricted to 1-0 only through the doggedness of Chanderpaul, who batted for 343 balls for his unbeaten 116 - including a 27 over vigil with number ten Fidel Edwards.
Dhoni’s bowlers were frustrated as the West Indies passed 300 for the first time in the series.
Despite their ineffectiveness on the last two days of Dominica’s first ever Test though, Dhoni will feel his attack have bowled themselves into good rhythm in the Caribbean.
Indeed, thanks to the absence of seamers Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth in the West Indies - who both return for the England tour - he faces some tricky selection decisions ahead of the series opener.
Undoubtedly the big success of the tour for India was opening bowler Ishant Sharma who topped the series bowling averages with 22 wickets at just 19.86 runs each.
The 22-year-old has had a topsy-turvey career since his debut as a precociously talented 18-year-old in 2007.
His persistence and tireless attitude has been a highlight of his 34-Test career so far though, and he returned to form spectacularly in the Caribbean.
Six wickets came from the first Test victory in Jamaica before Ishant turned in his most successful Test performance in the drawn second match in Barbados.
The right-arm seamer took career best figures for both a single innings and a match at the Kensington Oval, collecting 6/55 in the first innings and following it up with 4/53 to complete a first ten wicket haul in Tests.
If Ishant’s remarkable performance has seemingly assured him of a starting place at Lord’s, then Praveen Kumar will also be knocking on the door.
The 24-year-old - playing in his first Test series - chipped in with 12 wickets and took the new ball alongside Ishant.
Despite his inexperience at Test level Kumar has more than 50 One Day International caps and his brand of medium-fast, swing bowling might make him a handful in English conditions.