In recent times, India has won matches both at home and away, thanks to the emergence of quick bowlers .One such instance featured the match between India and England in the ICC World Cup of 2003 at Kingsmead, Durban in South Africa.
India batted first and made 250 a score that seemed defendable considering the difficulties of batting second under the lights. But there was anxiety over the ability of the Indian bowlers.
Marcus Trescothick was snared by Zaheer Khan and the other opener Nick Knight was run out. Then it was the Ashish Nehra show all the way. The left-armer from Delhi was always regarded as a talent but then has the uncanny knack of getting injured at the most inopportune time. However, on that balmy night, everything paled before the magnificent show put up by Nehra. He made the ball and the English batsmen dance to his commands. The balls to dismiss Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart are still fresh in the memory. There were 6 wickets for only 23 runs and that sealed the win for India despite some typical powerful hits from Flintoff.
In between his bowling, Nehra had a brief stint of throwing up his food and drink but there was no respite for the English. On one occasion, the speedgun reported a speed of over 150 kmph much to the surprise of everyone. Even if there was some error, nothing can be taken away form Nehra.
The showing of Nehra seemed to have brought some relief to the minds of the followers of Indian cricket who were fed up with their batsmen brought down to the knees by the swinging ball on tours to England.
Hope Nehra comes up with a similar spell in the ICC World Cup of 2011 even as the conditions at home are radically different from those that evening at the Kingsmead.