There was a big surprise in store for fans at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday morning when skipper MS Dhoni asked spinner Pragyan Ojha to do the honours of opening the Indian bowling attack against New Zealand, says a report in The Times Of India, adding that Ojha didn't disappoint as the slow left-arm orthodox spinner was spot on and did his job with diligence, claiming as many as four Kiwi wickets.
"Once the toss was done, Dhoni bhai was very clear that I was going to open the bowling. I was ready for it," said Ojha, who also returned a match haul of six wickets in Hyderabad. "The ball was new and it was difficult to grip. I was just sticking to basics and making the batsman play every ball. There was some moisture on the wicket and sometimes when there is moisture the ball grips. So wanted to make use of that," he said.
Meanwhile Deccan Chronicle writes that though the three overs in his first spell did not yield any wickets the persevering spinner struck to his discipline as he plucked out four wickets — including the key wickets of Martin Guptill and centurion Ross Taylor — to minimise the damage on Day One. It wasn’t any special performance to root for, but considering the nature of the wicket, it could turn out to be valuable one.
On a wicket which had slow turn and assisted the batsman more, the 25-year-old said sticking to ‘line and length’ worked for him. “I just stuck to the basics and made the batsmen play every ball. There was some moisture on the wicket and sometime when there is moisture the ball does grip, so I wanted to make use of that. And it paid off,” he noted.
While the Kiwis would claim to have taken the day’s honours, Ojha said India too were pleased with their efforts. “Zak (Zaheer) bowled superbly in his first spell. There was one catch dropped, and if that had been taken then it would have been a different story. I think Ash(win) and Umesh bowled well too. Taking six wickets on this kind of a wicket, which is not doing much, was a good effort.
“The kind of batting we have, I am confident we can put up a good score,” Ojha reckoned.