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Mishra vows for a better show ahead

India spinner agrees he could have bowled better, believes he is getting back to Test match rhythm

It was a tough Test match for the bowlers. With hardly any assistance from the pitch, it was a hard day at the office as England amassed a 500 plus score and backed it up with a similar batting dominance in their second innings. It was a batting paradise as there were as many as six centurions in the match with hardly any telling bowling performance.

It was a difficult pitch to bowl on agreed Mishra who spoke to
BCCI.TV after the match. “It was a good wicket for batting. It was a slow wicket. It would have been a lot more exciting had there been more pace in the wicket,” he said. “The result could have gone in our favour had we put them under pressure by picking wickets at the top. There is difficulty for the bowlers to bowl on wickets that are suitable for batting and you are about to bowl to a side that has already scored 500 plus. It is important as a bowler to bowl in the right areas and make the batsmen commit errors. We tried our best but credit to them for the way they batted.”

There were some words of advice from coach Anil Kumble as well. Mishra has often credited Kumble for his success and it was no different when it came to bowling on difficult pitches like the one that was offered at Rajkot. “He has always told me that I am a wicket taking bowler. He has always asked me to go for wickets always. Especially in this wicket at Rajkot, he asked me not to experiment too much and stick to my line and lengths. It was a tough day, but I will try to bowl according to the situation and pick wickets.”

Personally, Mishra was playing a Test after a three-month gap. He last played against West Indies in Jamaica. Though he had a telling performance against New Zealand in the final ODI in Vizag where he picked up a fifer, it did take some adjusting for the format shift, agreed Mishra.

“I wouldn’t say I bowled very well. It did take time for me to get my rhythm, especially since I was playing a Test after a long time. I was at the bench for two Tests in the West Indies and then sat out in the New Zealand Test series. Also, I was coming off from the ODI series so the transition from ODIs to Tests did take some time. Today, I believe there was improvement in my bowling in the second innings and I bowled better.

“The first innings didn’t go my way but I began to get my rhythm in the second innings when the pitch began to help the spinners a bit. Hopefully, I can continue with this rhythm in the next Test match if I get a chance. I do have the confidence of the fifer I took against New Zealand in Vizag and my preparations will only get better come the second Test.”

India were set a target of 310 and the situation almost got out of hand as the home team lost six wickets in the process. Captain Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja though batted out the day with scores of 49 and 32 respectively and the match ended in a draw. The dressing room did get a bit tense towards the end but the confidence was always sky high, according to Mishra.

“There was a bit of pressure but we were confident of the outcome. Our batsmen were in form and had runs under their belt. The batsmen to follow were also confident that they could bat it out. It was great batting from Kohli and Jadeja, who was very positive and he even went for shots. At such a time, the bowlers tend to get on the backfoot. That gets them thinking. He was asked to play his natural game but at the same time not try anything flashy. Both showed great temperament and showed we wouldn’t succumb under pressure.”

Though India were brought under the pump, Mishra and company were willing to take positives into the next Test. “We will take confidence from this Test and there were quite a few positives that we can take into the next Test. We replied well to their 500 plus score and we played positive cricket. We will try to do well in the next match.”   

Anand Subramaniam

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I enjoy batting in the top-order: Deepti Sharma

India all-rounder speaks about her craft and her role in the team

All-rounder Deepti Sharma was promoted to the top-order in the first two matches of the ongoing one-day series against West Indies in Vijayawada and the youngster responded with responsible contributions.

While opening the innings, she made 16 off 40 balls in the first ODI, and scored 32 off 63 balls during the 63-run partnership for the third wicket after coming to the crease at No 3 in the 2nd ODI.

Her partnership with Smriti Mandhana helped lay the foundation for the 154-run chase in the second game. Speaking about her innings, Deepti said, “We had lost the first wicket early (23 for one) so the only thought in mind was to give the team a good partnership (to build on) and that is what we did. We wanted to finish the match, we couldn’t do that. But it was important at that juncture that we stay at the wicket and we were able to do that.”

While Mandhana went after the bowling, Deepti held up one end stoically. Speaking about her role in the partnership she said, “I usually focus on rotating the strike while playing and that is what I was thinking today as well and that’s how we played, so I felt good.”

Asked about being given the No 3 position, she said, “It gave me confidence that I was asked to bat one down. I took the responsibility and played according to the situation. I will take this confidence into the next match as well.”

Promoted to the top-order again, “I am feeling good (about batting in the top-order). It is giving me a different kind of confidence altogether. I enjoyed batting today and as well as in the first match so I am very happy. “I open for my state side since I am a batting all-rounder,” she mentioned.

Asked about the advise she received from her coach and captain when she was assigned the role, Deepti said, “I was only told that I would be opening the innings so then I worked accordingly and I thought I have to give my best now that I am getting an opportunity to open the innings. And also, work on building partnerships so whoever is there with me at the other end, my focus is on building a partnership. If you stay at the wicket the runs will come.”

Before making the vital contribution with the bat, Deepti had finished as the most economical bowler having conceded only 19 runs in 10 overs. “I was focussed on bowling dot balls and that’s what I did today,” she said while speaking about her bowling. “I didn’t get wickets, but that’s okay. I contained the batters and that matters,” she elaborated.

“If other bowlers are getting wickets from the other end, then my job is to bowl dot balls more. At that time, I can use my variations and I did that today as well. I also made good use of the crease and benefitted from that,” she added.

“I normally give flight and when the ball turns in from the fourth stump, it is extremely effective,” she said while further discussing her stock ball. “Having played domestic games helped a lot and since we did well there that helped the confidence coming in,” she mentioned while speaking about the preparation coming into the series.

“Having won the series, the team will now carry the confidence into the next match,” Deepti said while concluding.

Prajakta Pawar
Prajakta Pawar

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