Ojha casts spell on English batsmen
To stifle a batsman of Kevin Pietersen’s caliber is no less a demanding ask, let alone the privileged mantle of humbling him. Most among them some of the most established in the firmament—would narrate tales of his batting machismo. But Pragyan Ojha wasn’t to be daunted by Pietersen’s repugnant reputation.
Not since Saeed Ajmal in the Emirates has any spinner so convincingly troubled KP like Ojha on Saturday. It wasn’t mere trouble or menace but sustained mockery at a batsman whose reputation for big-hitting is king sized. Ojha gave the latter a massive rupture, from which KP would bide time to recover.
He literally toyed with him, beating him in the flight as well off the pitch. The massive bite and spin away made it tougher for Pietersen to deploy his usual whip over midwicket. The couple of times he attempted this, he was deceived without a clue, and hence had to completely refrain from his most productive shot.
Eventually, he nailed him with a clever piece of bowling that attested to his metamorphosis as a bowler who thinks. Just when Pietersen’s comfort levels grew, he slipped in a ball that didn’t turn and took an inside edge onto his pad. Consequently, Pietersen’s footwork was indecisive to the next ball that turned slightly away after pitching, which he played from the crease and was castled.
Ojha was understandably a delighted man. “It gave me a lot of satisfaction, to trouble a batsman of his quality. I am happy with the way I bowled to him in particular. I knew it was a matter of being patience and pitching the ball in the right areas,” he reflected.
Importantly, he made them play at most of his balls, and the English batsmen were faulty of lunging for the ball than playing it from the crease. Ian Bell’s wicket was as precious. “You like batsmen charging at you. It’s a sign of encouragement. It’s a challenge I like because I know I have a good chance and I really enjoy it,” he said
However, he wasn’t as productive in their second innings, more so as the pitch was painstakingly slow and the bite on offer vanished. “They are a very good side, one of the best in the world right now. So it was very satisfactory to get a five-wicket haul early in the series. We tried hard in the second innings, but the pitch was slow,” he said.
He, though, believes that the pitch could regain its fizz in the first session on the morrow. “We are looking forward to the first session tomorrow, for that’s when the pitch would really assist us. That said, we shouldn’t be taking them easy at any point of this series,” he specified. Possibly, he can rub more salt into Pietersen’s punctured ego.
- Sunday Standard