Mohali: Pragyan Ohja lauded pace bowler Zaheer Khan who helped India regain their challenge in the match with a superb spell in Day 1 of the first Test match against Australia in Mohali.
It was a huge ask for Zaheer being the lone paceman after Ishant Sharma was forced to leave the field with injury.
Ishant was forced to leave the field after complaining of knee problems while bowling his eighth over, halfway into the opening day.
"He (Ishant) has gone for a scan and treatment is on," said Ohja.
Asked if having an extra pace bowler would have helped, Ojha replied in the positive. "Yes, it would have been great had Ishant too been there. But Zak (Zaheer) did the job for us," he said.
Ishant (0-49) struggled to find the right line and bowled a number of no balls, helping the Australian duo of Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson collect some easy runs and set the platform for a formidable score.
But the hosts rode on Zaheer Khan's late strikes to share first day honours with the Aussies.
Traditionally known for its bounce and movement, the PCA wicket was on the slower side, but Ojha is hoping to get some help from the pitch in the days to come. "I bowled an attacking line, on to the stumps. I was bowling a perfect line, waiting for them to make mistakes," he said.
Asked about the dropped chances, including the one off centurion Watson's bat, Ojha said that happens in a game. "In a game couple of catches go down, but at the end of the day we made a comeback," he said.
Zaheer was also involved in a spat with Australian spinner Ricky Ponting.
The incident occurred when Ricky Ponting after a good half century was caught short of his crease by Suresh Raina. With the dismissal of Ponting, Zaheer Khan had something to say to the Aussie skipper, who walked back to towards the pacer and had few things to say for himself.
Ojha, however, defended the paceman.
"It often happens when you are competitive. There are times when words are exchanged," Ojha told the reporters.