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Ishant Sharma happy to shoulder burden as the ‘leader of the pace-attack’

The seasoned pacer was not sure as to how the pitch would behave on days 3, 4 and 5. He opined that the game is evenly balanced at the moment.

Ishant Sharma | CricTracker.com
Ishant Sharma of India. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

There were several eyebrows raised when Jasprit Bumrah was given a chance ahead of Ishant Sharma is 1st Test between South Africa and India. However, Ishant confirmed that he was slated to play in Cape Town but missed out because of an illness.

At the start of the second Test, there were several questions raised when the most experienced pacer in the team was left out. But when he was brought in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the 2nd Test in Centurion it didn’t quite go down well with the fans and experts.

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After being out of the team for a while, Ishant returned with an impressive home series against Sri Lanka. He was picked in the squad for the South Africa series for his experience of having played there and his ability to extract bounce out of these pitches.

This is the exact reason why he was roped in the side for the second Test. And, he didn’t prove his captain wrong. Putting all the speculations aside, the seamer picked 3 wickets in the first innings. His bowling figures read 22-4-46-3 at the end of the first innings. He took the important wickets of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.

‘Ready to take the responsibility’

Speaking at the close of play on day 2, Ishant said, “Obviously, I am the senior fast bowler of this team so I have to take responsibility. If I am ready to take responsibility and take those important wickets for the team, I am always up for it.”

Team India fumbled as many as five chances that the South African batsmen created. Pacer Mohammed Shami also looked a bit off-colour conceding close to 4 runs an over, having picked only one wicket.

Ishant said his plan was to hit the right areas. He accepted that fielding lapses are a part of the game and that the Indian fielders have taken some brilliant catches in recent times and hopes they will do better.

The seasoned pacer was not sure as to how the pitch would behave on days 3, 4 and 5. He opined that the game is evenly balanced at the moment. And in his view, the second day’s play was equally good for both the sides.

Speaking of Virat and Hardik Pandya‘s partnership, he said: “I think its pretty important obviously. Because the way Virat is playing, it is totally a different game. And, if Hardik gets going he can take the game away from the opposition. I think he backs his strength totally and I think I am hopeful he will take the game away from South Africa,” Ishant concluded.

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