Ishant Sharma has been knocking batsmen over in this series.
His nine-wicket match haul in the first Test at Auckland – including six wickets in the New Zealand first innings – has been followed by a career-best six for 51 here. The Delhi seamer has 15 scalps in the ongoing series at 14.20.
Ishant was pleased with his bowling performance here on Friday. “It was a good toss to win. There was help from the pitch but we bowled in the right areas. There was seam movement and bounce. We carried on from where we left in the second innings at Auckland.”
The paceman felt he had been bowling well all along. “I do the role given to me by the team. It was the same Ishant bowling to Ricky Ponting in Australia, it was the same Ishant who picked up wickets in the West Indies, and it is the same Ishant here. I have remained the same; people’s view about me might have changed.”
Ishant’s spells against Ponting down under in the 2007-08 series made exhilarating viewing while his 22 scalps at 16.86 from three Tests in the Caribbean in 2011 earned him praise from the likes of Joel Garner.
The paceman believed India had a good chance to square the series here. “I think Shikhar (Dhawan) batted very well. We have the opportunity to put pressure on New Zealand.”
Kane Williamson said this was a pitch where a batsman never felt settled. “It was the sort of pitch where you felt one of the deliveries coming up might have your name on it.”
Williamson gave credit to the Indian pacemen. “We knew it would be tough batting first. The pitch was doing quite a lot but the Indian pacemen bowled very well.”
Asked about his astonishing luck on day one – Williamson was caught twice off no-balls – he replied, “It was nice but it did not make the wicket any flatter. It would have been nice to have got opportunities on a better track.”
Williamson said New Zealand could come back in the Test. “The ball is still swinging out there,” he said.