India vs New Zealand 1st Test: Ishant Sharma Defends Team's Below Par Bowling Performance on Day One

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By Deepak Vikraman | February 6, 2014 8:13 PM EST

India fast bowler Ishant Sharma fields off his own bowling during the first day of the 1st Test against New Zealand, 6 January. Reuters
India fast bowler Ishant Sharma fields off his own bowling during the first day of the 1st Test against New Zealand, 6 January. Reuters

At 30 for three, India had the we-can-take-full-control-switch of day one of the first Test in their grasp, with New Zealand reeling following three quick wickets.

But then in stepped that tormentor-in-chief of Indian bowlers Kane Williamson, who built a brilliant partnership with his skipper Brendon McCullum to take control, with New Zealand eventually finishing day one on 329 for four, with McCullum still at the crease.

India, after grabbing that early advantage, lost the plot a little with Williamson and McCullum taking complete charge, while making full use of quite a few dropped chances, which at the end of the day cost the away side dear.

"Obviously, as a bowler you feel bad when catches are dropped off your bowling," said Ishant Sharma, who picked up two wickets in the day. "But that is part and parcel of the game. You cannot control all these things.

"The only thing you can control is to keep bowling a consistent line and length. Getting the batsmen out is our job and that is what we are trying to do.

"They played some good shots. We bowled enough bouncers and they kept on playing the pull over the top of the keeper and the slip cordon. You can't control all this."

But, India did not bowl well enough to disrupt the two New Zealand batsmen under conditions which, while not being scary, did offer enough help to make a game of it.

There were way too many short pitch deliveries, which the New Zealanders were more than happy to capitalise on, with Corey Anderson, after coming in at No. 6 following the wicket of Williamson, tonking a few of those in the final few overs.

"We bowled in the right areas throughout the day, but you have to give credit to the batsmen," Ishant added. "They played really well. The wicket got better as the day progressed, particularly after lunch. On such wickets you need to be patient and keep bowling in the good areas. That is what we did.

"Our intensity didn't drop throughout the day. We did not let their run-rate go high at any point. It was always under control. Even as the wicket got flat and the ball got old, we kept bowling in the right areas. When the wicket goes flat, you have to be patient and see how to create pressure."

Ishant reached a landmark 150 Test wickets when he dismissed opener Hamish Rutherford early in the morning, and the fast bowler, whose form has been under the scanner for quite a while now, expressed his happiness at reaching the mark, while also insisting he was happy with the way he was performing with the ball.

"It is a big achievement for me to get 150 wickets in Tests. I think I have been bowling well. I was bowling well in the Tests in South Africa too and I don't think I have to worry about my rhythm," he said. "The way I am bowling at the moment, I am very happy."

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(Photo: / )
India fast bowler Ishant Sharma fields off his own bowling during the first day of the 1st Test against New Zealand, 6 January. Reuters
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