On no balls, Ishant takes jibe at Australian media
Ishant Sharma (AFP Image)

India pacer Ishant Sharma Saturday took a jibe at the Australian media when discussions turned to front-foot no balls, following the second day’s play in the second Test here.

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Ishant was guilty of bowling a few no balls in the first Test which escaped the on-field umpires’ attention. While his propensity to overstep denied India wickets on two occasions, the poor policing of front-foot slip-ups attracted the ire of the host nation.

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“Maybe Australian media should answer the question. Not me. I have been playing cricket for so long. And these things happen. Because you are a human, you are bound to make a mistake. I was not worried about it at all,” Ishant said during a press conference.

He said that the counter attack from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane was vital as India ended the day at 172 for three in reply to Australia’s 326 all out.

“Whenever Virat is batting we feel confident. We finished the day in a strong position. Hopefully they will both continue. The game is in the balance right now. Hopefully we will dominate the first session tomorrow,” Ishant said.

Kohli’s unbeaten 82 coupled with Ajinkya Rahane’s counterattacking 51 helped India overcome the cheap dismissals of Murali Vijay (0) and K L Rahul (2).

“Rahane added quickfire 20-30 runs and they were really needed at that time. If they had played defence then Australia would have stayed on their plans and it was important for him to counter attack to force them to change plans,” he added.

Earlier, Kohli added 74 runs for the third wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara after the Indian openers had been dismissed cheaply.

“When Pujara defends, the ball doesn’t go past the square. I have played against him and I know how difficult it is to bowl at him. He makes the bowlers tired. I knew if he stays he can do wonders. It was unfortunate the way he got out. We don’t get those wickets that easily, going down leg and caught behind.

“Then, Jinx and Virat played pretty good shots which shifted momentum in our side and we ended the day pretty well,” he said.

Sharma recovered from a poor spell, especially in the morning session on day one, to finish with 4-41 as Australia only added 49 to their overnight score of 277-6.

“I think the wicket was really slow at that time. It wasn’t as up and down as it was after lunch when there was something there for the bowlers. The first hour was the best time to bat on at that wicket. As a senior bowler, a responsibility has been added.

“Whenever there is tough situation I like to bowl and take wickets. I have seen senior bowlers put up their hand in tough situations in the past and at that time I didn’t know much about it. But now in tough situations, I want to do the same,” he said.

India lead the four-match series 1-0 following their 31-run win at Adelaide and they entered the second game high on confidence.

“On day one, we need to be patient otherwise if you think there is going to be lot of bounce and I will bounce them out, it will not work. Bowling to good areas is really important on these kind of wickets.

“That’s why we kept bowling in the right areas, and keep on hitting those good lengths. The aim is to find out what the good length is, speak among each other, and then it becomes easier for everybody to find those lengths and bowl,” he added.

Praising Jasprit Bumrah, who was the stand-out Indian bowler in the first innings, Sharma said, “I don’t think he is improving. When he made his debut he had already improved (from a white-ball cricketer). That is why he was picked. The good thing about him is he gives his heart out and you only need to support him.

“Maybe he was beating the bat couple of times but he was bowling 140 every single time. He never gives up, which is the best sign for any fast bowler.”

India have no spinner in this match and R Ashwin’s absence also means that their tail begins at number eight with Sharma himself. The pacer said that it was a matter of time before the runs came from lower order.

“It was not my decision who plays. I am happy to join the team and do well.

“Yes maybe abroad, we are not scoring as many as we can but no other teams are doing too. If Australia comes to India, their tail doesn’t score many runs. So it’s about the home team. We are not used to that kind of bounce and pace and that kind of thing. Yes we are working on our batting skills as well so slowly we will get used to it. Maybe some day our bowlers will score a 50 too,” he said.