London, Aug 19: Indian pacer Ishant Sharma has no doubt been struggling to get the better of the English batsmen in the current Test series. He has garnered all of 10 wickets from the 150 overs he's bowled (at an appallingly poor average of 56) and has never once removed an opener.
So on the morning of the fourth Test, it would have come as some small consolation for him, that even though he wasn't able to get the "scalp" of English opener Andrew Strauss, he came close... by chewing off a bit of the batman's helmet!
Indeed, in the 15th over of the English first innings, Ishant directed a no-less-than-extraordinary bouncer straight at Strauss' head. A bemused English captain momentarily entertained the impulse to hook or pull at it, but the sheer zip of the delivery immediately nullified that option and crashed right into the shade of the helmet, severing a chunk from it!
Suddenly, the Indian pace initiative seemed to have come alive for perhaps the first time in the series, an English batsman had been genuinely rattled by raw pace and bounce.
Such an occurrence instantly stirred up memories of a 1970's on-pitch joust between Australia's express bowler Dennis Lillee and England's top batsman Tony Greig, where the former got a bouncer to hit the batsman flush on his head-guard.
Then as an cheeky jibe to the batsman, Lillee knocked on his own head as if to say, "Is anybody at home, Tony?" India would have to ask the question in reverse however - is anybody at home, Ishant?? We need you to "call" on the English line-up a lot more...