The 6 foot 4 inch frame of Ishant Sharma was,strangely for a fast bowler,stationed at slips. After bowling four tight overs,Ishant Sharma was given a bit of rest by India A captain S Badinath.
At that point Bengal had moved to 70 for two in 16 overs and opener Jayojit Basu and skipper Wriddhiman Saha were looking set to take Bengal further ahead in the NKP Salve Challenger trophy.
Basu tried to play Pragyan Ojha on the on side and got a leading edge which flew towards slip. It would have been a tough chance even for a regular slipper,but Sharma pulled off a blinder to his right.
If Sharma was charged up,then Badrinath would have wanted to make use of it,and gave him the ball a couple of overs later.
And Sharma did not disappoint,picking up two wickets in that spell Shreevats Das a touch unlucky to be given caught behing while Debrata Das pull only reaching Ajinkya Rahane at mid on. With Ojha prising away wickets regularly at the other end,Bengal was struggling again,at 92 for six.
Saha consolidated,sweeping the spin of Ojha and Yusuf Pathan and driving the Abhimanyu Mithun and Parwinder Awana.
And again Sharma was at hand to bring his side back into the game,as he decieved Saha with a slower ball and then in the same over,picked up Sourav Sarkar caught behind for a duck. Bengal finished for a paltry total of 193. Sharma,the bowler on the recovery road,ended with four wickets. Ojha had three.
In reply,India A didnt have any hiccups in their chase,thanks to opener Shikhar Dhawans unbeaten 99 and Ajinkya Rahanes crafty 63. Earlier,opener Robin Uthappa started in blistering fashion but fell for a 19-ball 25.
What must have pleased Sharma was,apart from the fact that time spent in the middle is important for some one getting back to full fitness,the bowler was able to pick up wickets on a batsman friendly track,as was indicated by the second innings. True,Bengal might not have the best of line-ups,but the fast bowler worked a tight line and showed no discomforts from the ankle surgery.
Despite being picked for the New Zealand Tests recently,Sharma didnt get to play a game. He continued his recovery with 25 overs for Rest of India in the Irani Trophy,picking up three wickets. Today he went one better.
Brief score: Bengal 193 in 41.1 overs (J Basu 42,W Saha 65,I Sharma four for 29,P Ojha 3/40) lost to India A (S Dhawan not out 99,A Rahane 63,Basu one for 16)