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Finally, under-rated Ojha gets his moment in the sun
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, November 20, 2012
First Published: 01:06 IST(20/11/2012)
Last Updated: 01:08 IST(20/11/2012)
Bowler Pragyan Ojha celebrates the wicket of Alastair Cook during the final day of first Test match at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmadabad. HT/Mohd Zakir

Eighty four wickets in 17 Tests is not a bad return but players like Pragyan Ojha belong to a breed which often doesn't get the deserved credit. The Ahmedabad Test was a rare occasion when the 26-year-old left-arm spinner hogged the limelight.

In a match-winning performance, Ojha grabbed five wickets in the first innings and four in the second (9/165).

The highlight of his bowling was his removing Kevin Pietersen in both the innings, but it was his spell on the final morning that turned the game decisively in India's favour.

Lethal combine
He had formed a lethal combination with R Ashwin, but in a supporting role. Here too all eyes were on the Chennai spinner, but he suffered a rare off day. After Alastair Cook and Matt Prior's defiant show, the pressure was on the India bowlers.

Ojha took the extra load and struck in quick succession to remove Prior and Cook, sounding the death knell for England.

Skipper MS Dhoni acknowledged Ojha's contribution. "It was not so easy. We were on the field for two, two-and-a-half days. The bowlers had to bowl very patiently."

Number of overs
Dhoni added, "Ojha bowled close to 80 overs, Ashwin bowled 70 overs. As the game progressed, the pitch got slower and slower. I don't think there was much turn. The odd ball turned but there wasn't enough bounce for the edge to carry to the slip. It was the last session on the second day and first session on the third day that really shifted the game in our favour."

Former India spinner Maninder Singh said: "What was impressive about Ojha in the second innings was that he went about the task without getting any support from the other end. It was a wicket where the best thing to do is to stick to the basics. And that is what Ojha did."

Maninder felt Ashwin tried too hard. "On such wickets, if you stick to a good line and length, the wicket will do the rest. But Ashwin is a quick learner and will comeback strongly in the next game."


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