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First day, first scare

In another forgettable start to an overseas tour, India see Ishant 'hurt' his ankle and walk off the field after bowling just 5.3 overs; local batsmen plunder runs at will to amass 398. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2011 01:47 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Ishant-Sharma-of-India-bowls-against-the-Cricket-Australia-Chairman-s-XI-during-a-two-day-tour-match-at-Manuka-Oval-in-Canberra-AP-Andrew-Taylor
Ishant-Sharma-of-India-bowls-against-the-Cricket-Australia-Chairman-s-XI-during-a-two-day-tour-match-at-Manuka-Oval-in-Canberra-AP-Andrew-Taylor

India's Australia tour started on a shaky note as pace ace Ishant Sharma had an injury scare after landing awkwardly on his fragile ankle. However, after going off the field just three delivers into his opening spell, the tall paceman returned and bowled five more overs to ease the fears to an extent.

After the third ball of his opening over in the two-day match against the CA Chairman's XI, Ishant pointed to his ankle and asked physio Evan Speechly to come on to the field.

After receiving treatment in the dressing room, he returned to bowl five overs at brisk pace and even got his bouncer working - hitting Joe Burns on the helmet with a ball that rose steeply from good length at the Manuka Oval.

Ishant Sharma broke down during the disastrous tour of England but had decided not to undergo ankle surgery.

He made a successful return in the home Test series against West Indies although it was clear the ankle had to be managed.

'Minor issue'
India's fast-bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan, who is not playing in this extra fixture which was included in the schedule to provide the visitors more time to acclimatise, said Ishant's injury was a minor scare and taking him off the field was more a precautionary measure. However, there was still an air of doubt in his words.

Asked about the seriousness of the injury, Zaheer said, "Nothing, really. It was just a precautionary measure. I had a brief chat with him, and the physio. Again, it was just a precautionary measure (to keep him off the field). He's fine now. I am not sure about the exact details. It's just a minor thing."

Run plunder
CA Chairman's XI made the most of Ishant's absence as opener Wes Robinson and Tom Cooper, who represented Holland in this year's ODI World Cup, both hit centuries to help the hosts post a confident 398/6 declared.

After a slow start which saw them crawl at under two runs per over in the first session, CA Chairman's XI broke free. Robinson was particularly severe on left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, hitting him for five massive sixes on the leg-side before finally holing out on the boundary as a smart field change by stand-in captain Rahul Dravid, who was leading in the absence of skipper MS Dhoni and vice-captain Virender Sehwag, yielded a wicket.

However, Cooper stood firm and ended the innings unbeaten on 182 off just 194 balls, which included 24 boundaries and three hits over the fence.