Virat Kohli versus James Anderson was the most anticipated battle of the ongoing India versus England Test series but there is one more battle going on in this series which is not making much noise but is as fascinating as any other contest in cricket. England opener Alastair Cook is getting troubled by Ishant Sharma quite frequently in this Test series and it is the bowler who is having the upper hand so far.
Ishant Sharma comes with a special ability. His natural angle is to take the ball away from the left-hand batsmen which makes him lethal. Add to it the extra bounce he generates because of his height, you get a bowler who is sure to trouble the left-hand batsmen.
On the other hand, Alastair Cook who is England’s highest run-getter in Tests has a weakness against the ball which moves away from him especially when he is new at the crease. And Ishant has exposed this same weakness in this Test series.
Cook has fallen to Ishant three times in this series so far which reflects the England batsman’s struggle against the pace bowler. Infact, the rivalry between the two isn’t a new one as the Indian bowler has troubled Cook in the past as well.
Ishant has got Cook’s wicket 11 times so far which is an achievement in itself. In Tests, only Morne Morkel has got Cook out more times (12 times) than Ishant. Considering fact that there are two more Tests, probability of Ishant surpassing Morkel is pretty high.
Cook’s form in the recent past has been a cause of concern for England. In 2018, the opening batsman has scored only 269 runs in 14 innings at an average of 19.21. Since Andrew Strauss’ retirement England is yet to find an able replacement for him and now Cook’s lean patch has only added to the woes. As England don’t have many options, they might persist with Cook for the remaining two Tests and if this happens, then cricket fans will surely enjoy the duel between Ishant and Cook.