‘The tough period is behind us’: Ishant Sharma
LONDON (92 News) –India are 84 runs from a historic victory in Edgbaston, and although they have lost five wickets in their chase of 194, there is belief in the camp that they can chase it down.
“I think the tough period is behind us,” said a confident Ishant Sharma after the third day’s play on Friday, 3 August. “The wickets in England aren’t very helpful [for batting], to be honest. If the sun is out, there is no problem. It’s only a problem when it is cloudy and then swing starts.”
In the last hour of the day, Virat Kohli, fresh from his heroic first-innings hundred, and Dinesh Karthik kept the innings steady.
“[Kohli being there] gives us a lot of confidence. Another good thing is DK’s positive intent,” said Sharma. “Virat has scored 150  in the last innings and yes, DK got out [for a duck], but you can see that he has positive intent.
“Losing five wickets doesn’t mean much because we got their batsmen quickly as well. Cricket is such a game that with one good partnership you can chase down small totals easily.”
India have never chased 194 to win in England, but the relatively smallish total they were left with was thanks in a large part to Sharma, who picked up 5/51 in his 13 overs in the hosts’ second innings.
Playing county cricket helped me. Playing for Sussex, bowling with the Dukes ball – the good thing was I had overs behind me
It was his eighth five-wicket haul. His success was a combination of sticking to a plan and the experience of the conditions, the experienced pacer said.
“The first innings, we wanted to take the ball away from the left-handers. My plan was to start over the stumps, and when the ball started to move I came around,” he explained.
“But in the bowling meeting, the bowling coach told me to straight away come round the stumps, because the batsman finds it tough to play from that angle. When my ball starts to swing, it is difficult for left-handed batsmen.”
In addition, he said, “Playing county cricket helped me a lot. It was a good experience and I enjoyed it.
“Playing for Sussex, bowling with the Dukes ball – the good thing was I had overs behind me. I played four [first-class] matches for Sussex, but I bowled nearly 250 overs in that [he bowled 114.3]. I played one-dayers, too.”
Having done his bit with the ball, Sharma is all geared to go if he’s called upon to pitch in with the bat as well. As he pointed out, he does have a fifty for Sussex this season.
“Nowadays, you don’t call them tail-enders, you call them lower-order batsmen,” he quipped. “So there’s every attempt that if there’s a top-order batsman playing with us, we go out and get runs.
“The good thing is I’ve scored a fifty in county as well and I’m carrying that confidence in my batting. Hopefully they won’t need me, I think DK and Virat will do the job for the team.”