Ishant Sharma took a dig at the Australian media for criticising him for his no-balls. The 30-year-old missed out on Aaron Finch’s wicket during India’s first Test against Australia in Adelaide after it was shown in the review that Ishant had overstepped. Australian broadcasters later revealed in replays that Ishant had overstepped a number of times but umpire Kumar Dharmasena never called it.
“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 in a press conference after Day 2 of the second Test in Perth.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting had said that umpires are no longer looking for front-foot no-balls. “I’ve said this for a lot of years; I honestly don’t think the umpires look at the front line anymore,” Ponting told cricket.com.au, “Some of the ones we’ve seen today … he was 4-6 inches over the line. I don’t think the umpires are looking and I certainly don’t think they were looking at those ones because they were blatantly obvious ones. And as we know now, they’ll only ever look at them if a wicket falls, which as far as I’m concerned is not right. Part of umpiring is to get the no-ball decisions right as well. I’m not asking for everything to be spot on, but if you’re six inches over then surely you can call it.”
Ishant said that India’s strong finish to Day 2 makes the second Test an even contest. he took four wickets during the Australian innings but he was taken for runs by Pat Cummins and Tim Paine at the start of Day 2. Australia were all out for 326 and Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane took India to 172/3 at the end of day’s play. “Whenever he [Virat Kohli] is batting, we feel pretty confident,” said Ishant in the press conference after day’s play.
“We felt good obviously as we finished the day on a strong position. Hopefully, they both will continue tomorrow and we win the first session and turn the game in our favour. Right now I can say it’s even-steven,” he said.
Kohli has made 82 off 181 balls and looks primed for a 25th Test ton while Ajinkya Rahane is on 51 off 103 balls. The latter replaced Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle and plundered the Australian bowling attack in the early part of his innings.
“I think Ajinkya Rahane’s counter-attacking innings in that period was very important for the team. It also made Australia change their plans,” said Ishant. Rahane raced past the 30-run mark in almost as many balls before settling in. Before him, Pujara held up one end of the pitch while Kohli took on the Australia bowlers. The pair shared a stand of 74 runs for the third wicket after openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay were undoned by some brilliant bowling from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
“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.