Indian mood ‘tense’ as Australia sense victory

Mohali: The mood in the Indian dressing room is "tense", revealed pacer Ishant Sharma, conceding that the hosts have let slip the advantage by losing four quick wickets against Australia on the fourth day of the first cricket Test here on Monday.

Chasing a modest target of 216, India were 55/4, with Sachin Tendulkar (10) and night watchman Zaheer Khan (5) at the crease and Ishant said the mood is not good in the hosts camp.

"Obviously when four of your good batsmen get out, the mood is a little bit tense," Ishant, who had the Aussies in trouble earlier in the day removing three of their top batsmen including skipper Ricky Ponting, told reporters at the end of the fourth day`s play here.

Openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag besides Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina were back in the pavilion. The problem for the Indians have been compounded as their senior batsman VVS Laxman is suffering from back spasm which forced him to bat at number 10 in the first innings.

"Obviously, he (Laxman) will bat," Ishant said.
India had made 405 in response to Australia`s first innings total of 428 while the Aussies were bowled out for 192 in their second innings on Monday.

Despite saying that the mood was tense, Ishant at the same time exuded optimism, saying that the Indian camp was trying to keep a "good frame of mind.".

"Sachin and Zak (Zaheer) are batting. Hope they can do the job for the team (by having a big partnership)," Ishant said.

"We will try our level best and hope we can pull it off," Ishant said.

However, Aussie pacer Ben Hilfenhaus who wrecked the Indian top order this evening claiming three of the four wickets to fall said the Australians were "sensing victory".

"They have the tails up. Definitely, we can sense victory here. Tendulkar`s wicket tomorrow morning will be the key for us. We would like to get him early by putting him under pressure and hopefully watch him crumble," Hilfenhaus said.

Meanwhile, Ishant attributed his excess no balls in the match to the shortened run-up which he has adopted.

"I was struggling in Sri Lanka as well because I had shortened my run up. It may be just two steps, but it takes too much to get back into old rhythm," he said.
Ishant said he had talked to senior bowler Zaheer Khan and other players before deciding to shorten his run-up, which he said, had not affected his pace. He also talked to the bowling coach later on and sought advice on the "technical aspects".

Ishant said the bounce of the wicket, which has played on the slower side, was more compared to the first innings.
"I was told to bowl in the right areas and not to think about the wickets," he said.
"My seniors including Zak (Zaheer) asked me to control my emotions and try to get into rhythm. But sometimes when you are running hard, it happens (you tend to falter)."
On umpire Billy Bowden ruling one of his wicket-taking deliveries a no ball even though the replays showed it was a tight call, Ishant said, "as an umpire he is doing his job andwe are doing ours. Zak told me not to get emotional about it".

On Gautam Gambhir`s controversial LBW dismissal, Ishant said, "obviously, no one feels good about that, but that`s one thing which is not in your hand. Such things are part and parcel of the game (decisions going against you)".
Meanwhile, Hilfenhaus gave credit to the Indian bowlers for restricting Australia to 192 in their second innings after their openers gave them a flourishing start.
"Indian bowlers bowled particularly well. They bowled a good consistent line putting pressure on our batsmen," he said.

Asked if the pitch played quicker today, he said, "I am not sure about that".

On some of the deliveries flying over their wicketkeeper Tim Paine`s head, he said, "I can`t explain that (if that was due to the pitch turning more bouncy today)".

Hilfenhaus favoured having the Decision Review System, saying "obviously if the technology is there, it should be used. We would definitely like to see that (DRS) in."


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