No Ishant Sharma, no fear: Ajinkya Rahane

Adelaide, December 15

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has conceded that pacer Ishant Sharma’s absence will be felt but added that the bowling attack would be strong even without him in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, starting here on Thursday.

Rahane, who is expected to lead in the last three Tests after regular skipper Virat Kohli goes on paternity leave, also spoke about how batting in the “twilight” session of the Day/Night Test would be the biggest challenge for batsmen. “I think we do really have a strong attack, but yes we will definitely miss Ishant, being the senior fast bowler,” Rahane said. Sharma is recovering from a rib injury suffered the IPL.

Rahane, however, is confident that despite Sharma’s absence, the pace attack will rise to the occasion.

“The guys who are here… Umesh (Yadav), (Navdeep) Saini, (Mohammed) Siraj with Jasprit (Bumrah) and (Mohammed) Shami, they are all really good and experienced and they know how to bowl in these conditions,” he said. “This is a new series starting with the pink ball, so it is all about getting that momentum, but I do believe that we have the attack to get 20 wickets.”

Opening options

On the possible opening combination among the four available options (Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and KL Rahul), Rahane said a decision will be taken on the eve of the match. “See, we have still not decided what’s our combination going to be. There is another day to go, one more practice session to go, we will sit tomorrow and discuss what’s our combination,” the Mumbai batsman said.

That was his answer also about the two wicketkeeping options, Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant. “…but see, whoever plays, it is going to be like, everyone is equally there, everyone is equally talented, whoever plays, they can win the match for us, so it is all about trusting our players,” Rahane said. — PTI

Faster pitch in twilight zone

The ‘twilight’ period in a Day/Night Test — when the sunlight is fading and the floodlights taking over —is very important, as has been well documented. What Ajinkya Rahane added to the theory was to say that there is an increase in ball-speed off the pitch for 40-50 minutes. “I feel in the day, the new pink ball slightly moves, but then after that it becomes easy to bat… When the twilight period comes, for 40-50 minutes, that becomes a bit challenging for the batsmen to focus,” he said. “The ball’s pace increases, initially there is normal pace, but when lights are on and the twilight period starts, the pace increases off the wicket. In case of red ball, the pace does not change suddenly, but with the pink ball, within 40-50 minutes, pace changes completely.”

Smith misses nets due to sore back

Adelaide: Australian batsman Steve Smith today missed a net session due to a sore back. After having warmed up for 10 minutes with his teammates at the Adelaide Oval, Smith skipped the routine football session and headed straight to the dressing room in some discomfort after tweaking his back while bending down to pick up a ball. PTI

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