Scott Styris on Ishant Sharma after Day 2 at Wellington: ‘Doesn’t get the respect he deserves

Returning from an ankle injury, Ishant Sharma on Saturday, kept India in the game by picking up three crucial wickets on Day 2 of the first Test match against New Zealand at Wellington. After Ishant’s 3 for 31 on the second day at the Basin Reserve, former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris said the lanky pacer doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

Ishant was by far the best Indian bowler on display on a track that just appeared to settle down a bit. Ishant picked up the first three New Zealand wickets to keep India in the hunt. He first dismissed opener Tom Latham, just after lunch, when the latter got himself in a tangle and was caught down the leg side. In his next spell, Ishant bowled Tom Blundell with a beauty that came back in sharply.

However, Ishant kept his best for Ross Taylor to break the threatening stand between him and Kane Williamson. New Zealand were going strong at 166 for 2 when Ishant got one to not only come back in sharply but also bounced off the length. It took Taylor by surprise and the ball ballooned to the square-leg fielder Cheteshwar Pujara, who took a simple catch. Taylor was dismissed for 44 in his 100th Test match.

“He perhaps doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Those are phenomenal numbers. He is a terrific performer. His ability to consistently bowl at one area is great. He is right in the face of the batsmen and you can see the rewards are slowly coming,” said Scott Styris on the post-match show on Star Sports.

Agreeing with Styris, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said, that is perhaps the reason why Ishant Sharma is rarely dropped from the Test side despite not getting a bag full of wickets.

Despite Ishant’s heroics, India are playing the catch-up game in the first Test as New Zealand reached 216 for 5, enjoying a 51-run lead over India, who were bowled out for 165 early on Day 2.

“We have confidence that we can make a comeback. That has been the speciality of this team,” Ishant said on Saturday after the end of the day’s play at the Basin Reserve.

“Actually, wicket became slow. It had a tennis ball bounce at the start but when we bowled, there was no seam movement. Also for first-timers, problem in Wellington is getting used to wind which is a big factor. People actually have little idea how to bowl with or against the wind,” Ishant added.

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