Ishant leads India's fightback

Ishant leads India's fightback

Ishant Sharma came up with a career-best performance as India made a strong start in their bid to win the second Test and level the series against New Zealand.

Ishant took six for 51 to help India bowl out New Zealand for 192. India then progressed to 100 for two at close on day one.

Under fire for his lacklustre effort in the one-day series, Ishant struck form in the Test series, having claimed nine wickets in the first Test that India lost by 40 runs.

Ishant said he has been bowling well consistently for some time but his performance was being noticed only now because he was among wickets these days.

“I am the same bowler who bowled against (Ricky) Ponting in 2007-08 and the same bowler who was man-of-the-series in 2011. I am the same bowler,” stressed Ishant, after his superb effort.

Dhoni won his seventh toss in a row in this series, and this time, it was a crucial one, with the pitch offering plenty of assistance to quick bowlers. Zaheer Khan and Mohd Shami could not fetch a breakthrough but Ishant found his rhythm straightaway, putting the ball in the right areas and getting plenty of bounce from the wicket to trouble the batsmen.

“I have been bowling well since South Africa. It is just that people are recognising more now, because I am taking more wickets. I didn’t do anything different. Just looked to bowl in the right areas, in fact we all did, we all bowled very well. Only (Mohammad) Shami and I got the rewards. Zaheer (Khan) was very unlucky not to take wickets,” he said.

Shami took four for 70, offering good support to Ishant after failing to make an impact in his first spell.

“It was obviously good to win the toss,” said Ishant. “The wicket had a spongy bounce and it was a juicy wicket in the morning. We were disciplined in our bowling today. In the first innings at Auckland, we got a bit carried away looking at the fresh pitch.

“But we learnt from the second innings there that if we bowl with discipline, we will get more rewards. And that’s what we did today, looking to bowl in the right areas, rather than take wickets,” said Ishant.

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