Ishant Sharma shrugged aside a mixed past to trouble South Africa during the first Test. After his four for 79 allied with Zaheer Khan’s four for 88, helped India restrict the South African first innings to 244, Ishant could have bragged about his exploits but instead he sought to share credit with his fellow seamers.
“There was enough assistance in the wicket. We believed in ourselves and told each other to stick to the plan and bowl in the right areas and we were patient. The cracks are opening and that’s going to help the fast bowlers,” the lanky fast bowler said.
Ishant lauded Zaheer’s role as a leader of the bowling unit and said: “It’s nice to see Zak-pa back in the side. The amount of confidence he gives you and tells you where you lack, it’s important for fast bowlers to know all these. (Mohammad) Shami and I are still young and we can’t (observe) all the mistakes while we bowl. So his presence helps us.”
Asked about the mood in the dressing room, Ishant replied: “We believe in each other and that’s important when you play abroad because you only have your teammates around you. Then you believe in each other, look in each other and try to do the job for India, that’s more important.
“They (Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli) were going quite well and the atmosphere was heady and relaxing and it was nice to see batsmen scoring runs in South Africa.”
Later, Vernon Philander admitted that South Africa will terribly miss Morne Morkel.
“Losing Morne is a bigger pain than my toothache. The guys are obviously down especially after Morne’s injury but we will assess our options in the morning. Hoping to strike early so that we can push them (India) further back in their plans,” said Philander, who added that it felt good to be the fastest South African to the 100-wickets club in Tests.