Indian pacer Ishant Sharma on Saturday lauded the batting effort by Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who batted sensibly against Australia to put the visiting side in a strong position.
Replying to Australia’s first innings score of 326, India were once tottering at 8/2 but a 74-run partnership between Pujara (24) and Kohli (82*) rescued India from the early jolts. Later, the Indian skipper was involved in an unbeaten 90-run stand with Rahane (51*) as India were 172/3 at stumps when the second day ended.
Ishant, who returned with an impressive figures of 4/41, was elated with his team’s performance and praising his skipper said: “We feel pretty confident when he’s (Kohli) batting at the crease. We felt good and finished the day in a strong position.”
“They (Kohli and Rahane) both will continue [tomorrow]. Right now, I can say that the game is equally [poised]. Tomorrow, hopefully we’ll win the first session and then turn the game in our favour,” the pacer was quoted as saying by the ICC’s website.
“The quick 20-30 runs Ajinkya got us was crucial. If we had been defensive at that stage, we would have allowed them to stick to their plans. The counter-attack was very good for Jinx and the team. Consequently, they had to change their plans and switch to something else,” Ishant further explained.
Meanwhile, Ishant also lauded Pujara and said: “When Pujara defends, the ball doesn’t go past the square. He is someone you need in your team because I have played against him and I know how difficult it is to bowl to Pujara.”
“When he plays, he makes the bowlers really tired because he takes the toll from the bowlers. When they were batting, we knew that if he stays at the wicket, he can do wonders for the team,” expressed the pacer.