India ready to give their best at Perth: Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan is the leading wickettaker for India in the ongoing Test series, having taken 10 wickets in the first two matches at an average of 25.20 Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Perth: Jan 10, 2012

Unfazed by the debacles in the first two Tests, India’s pace spearhead Zaheer Khan said the team will come back strongly in the third match, the key to which would be putting the in-form Australian batting line-up under pressure.

“This Australian batting can be put under pressure. We are getting them under pressure but letting off a little bit. We have a few areas to look into and I’m sure we would be alright in upcoming matches,” said Zaheer.

“We were fantastic as a bowling unit in Melbourne. Everyone chipped in. In Sydney the wicket changed after the first day. It was a bit different, and it’s not an excuse, but anybody could see it. The nip and movement in the pitch wasn’t the same. But we are looking forward to (this Test) and I am confident as a bowling unit we can take 20 wickets,” he added.

Zaheer said although Ricky Ponting scored a century in the second Test in Sydney, he didn’t look the same old batsman he used to be.

“All I can say is that he (Ponting) applied himself well. But the Ricky Ponting of old… the flair is different now. He was more of a grinder and it wasn’t his natural game. But a hundred is a hundred and all credit to him.”

The 33-year-old swing bowler admitted that the team’s plans did not work out in Sydney but had little doubt that the side would perform well in Perth.

“Sydney didn’t work out according to plan. It was tough for us. But these kind of things are understandable. We need to move forward. The Perth game starts with 0-0. It’s a new Test and we are prepared to give it our best shot.

“Sometimes you do all the right things but it doesn’t go your way. But this Test starts afresh and we are focusing on it. This game is important for us as far as series is concerned and we are ready to do well,” said Zaheer.

“This is not the first time we have been in a situation like this. We have come out of such situations in the past. It’s showing in practice, there’s a good vibe going on in the dressing room and it’s a positive sign.”

Despite bowling well in the ongoing Test series, Zaheer (10 wickets from two games at an average of 25.20) hasn’t got the required support from the other end as both Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, particularly the latter, failed to take wickets.

“Ishant has played here, actually he came to reckoning from this ground. He has fond memories of this ground and once he gets his rhythm back, he would get among the wickets. He’s been bowling well, it’s just a matter of time before he picks up wickets,” said Zaheer.

Yadav, after taking seven wickets in the first Test, also looked pedestrian in the second Test at Sydney last week.

“It is just the beginning for him. If you have played just four or five Tests, you are allowed to make mistakes. But we are very happy with his attitude and he is a wicket-taker.”

This is the first time in three tours that Zaheer would actually be playing in Perth, as on two previous occasions he had to cut short his trips due to injuries and the left-arm pacer said he was excited to bowl on the world’s fastest track.

“I have finally passed the Sydney hurdle. It’s the first time I’m in Perth and am really excited about it. I am looking forward to play on this track about which there is so much of talk. I’m really excited with the hype which is going around (about the wicket),” he said.

WACA promises good returns to pacemen but Zaheer said he doesn’t look as much on surface as on his own rhythm for good rewards. (PTI)