Rival skippers heap lavish praise on Ishant

Published: Monday, February 11, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni heaped lavish praise on rising star Ishant Sharma after the lanky paceman scripted India's facile five-wicket victory over Australia in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series in Melbourne on Sunday.

Ishant was given the new ball by Dhoni and responded superbly, taking 4/38 as the hosts were dismissed for just 159. Delhi seamer rattled Aussie batsmen with sheer pace and in-swingers. He plucked the vital wickets of Hayden, Ponting- his bunny - and Symonds.

India after facing some tense moments romped home with five wickets in hand and 4.1 overs to spare.

The post-match talk was of Ishant, however, with Dhoni delighted at how the 19-year-old coped with opening the bowling alongside Sreesanth.

“He started off brilliantly," said Dhoni. “In the last few games we have given him the semi-new ball but we gave him the new ball here because he has been our best bowler in the ensuing tour. He responded superbly."

Aussie skipper Ponting speak glowingly about Ishant's arrival on the international scene, particularly of his ability to bounce back from a poor start.

"Matty was on top of him early. His first couple of overs, he bowled a few wides, bowled a few no balls," Ponting said.

"I think Matty and I sensed he wasn't at his best in the first couple of overs but he got Matty out then got me out, got his back up and bowled well from then."

Ponting said Ishant is no another run of the mill stuff as he had the ability to swing the ball into the right-hander.

"As a right-hand batsman you usually only get the ball coming back in from left-armers," he said.

"He's tall, he hits the deck pretty hard. He gets a little bit of inconsistent bounce. One will fly through and one will skid a little bit lower and I'm not sure if that's his action, not quite hitting his right all the time."

"He's looked dangerous with the angles that he creates across left-handers and swings the ball away from them a bit like (Makhaya) Ntini does."

"He's a dangerous bowler and someone we've got to pay a lot of attention to as the series goes on."

Ishant played down his performance, insisting his skippers' wise words helped him settle.

"You are trying to do something else and not sticking to your plans'," Sharma said when asked to share with the press what Dhoni had said to him.

"'Try and just be yourself, ask yourself what you have to do', and then I calmed down and bowled well."

“When I am bowling, I just try and put it in the right areas," he said.

“I don"t think about the batsman"s strengths, just mine. I stick to my strengths and I have got the results.

“Today I bowled a bit quicker and the wicket also helped."

The next match in the Commonwealth Bank Series comes on Tuesday when India meet Sri Lanka in Canberra.


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