Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is confident of India wrapping up the first cricket Test against New Zealand despite heavy rain forcing abandonment of play during the second session on the third day.
“The wicket, which had more of bounce and less of turn in the first innings, is turning more and there is bounce. The most important thing is that it is spinning from the middle-stump itself. This is a very good sign for us,” the 25-year-old.
‘A great feeling’
Ojha said it was a great feeling to bowl along with off-spinner R. Ashwin, who returned career-best figures of six for 31 in the first innings here.
“The best part with Ashwin is that I’ve played a lot with him, and do talk a lot too,” said Ojha, who had a spell of 21-6-44-3 in the first innings, and then sent back Martin Guptill cheaply in the second innings.
“Ultimately, what is important is winning games for India, whether I am bowling with Ashwin or Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh). Definitely, Ashwin is bowling with a lot of confidence and I am enjoying being his spinning partner,” he said.
How difficult is for someone to bowl on a pitch which is turning a lot? “You have to stick to the basics, keep things simple, be disciplined and need to have a lot of patience,” Ojha said.
He dismissed the theory that he is more of a restrictive bowler in this attack.
“I have to bowl according to the team plan. My job sometimes is to keep it tight and force the batsmen into making mistakes.
“I am happy with the way things have gone around till now,” he said.
“Definitely, I was looking for a five-wicket haul in front of my home crowd,” the left-armer added.
James Franklin, New Zealand’s top-scorer with an unbeaten 43 in the first innings, said he doesn’t believe that the pitch was as bad as the team’s batting collapse would suggest.
“I don’t think there was a mental block as such facing the Indian spinners. We did discuss the possibility of spin and bounce today. But, somehow we could not execute our plans,” he said.
Franklin, however, doesn’t believe that it is all over for his team in this Test.
“We look at this as a great opportunity to show good discipline by spending more time out there in the middle. We are capable of that,” he concluded.