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Ishant is a dangerous bowler: Ponting

The Australian captain lauds Delhi speedster Sharma and says he has done well in the latter half of the tour so far.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Melbourne
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2008 11:45 PM IST

Australian captain Ricky Ponting conceded on Sunday that his tormentor Ishant Sharma is a "dangerous bowler" but stopped short of rating the Indian attack as the best he has seen in home conditions in the recent past.

"Ishant has done well in the latter half of this tour so far. He is a dangerous bowler," conceded a sombre Ponting.

"(S) Sreesanth has also looked good but it's too early to say this is the best attack seen in Australian conditions for sometime now as England was here last year," he said.

The young Indian attack, led by Sharma, booked Australia out for 159 in 43.1 overs after Ponting had chosen to bat first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. The Aussie skipper was suitably impressed.

"He is different in the sense that he hits the deck hard and gets some inconsistent bounce. I don't know whether it's because he changes his action."

"He looks dangerous and would be even more to the left-handers. Even to the right-handers, the kind of in-swing he manages is a bit unusual," Ponting said.

Ponting said that in his first two overs, Matthew Hayden seemed to have got on top of the young bowler.

"Matty (Hayden) was on top of him. He began with wides and no balls and we sensed he was not at his best. But he recovered and his overall figures were good."

A shy-looking Ishant said that his plan to Ponting has been to bowl on the fourth stump.

"I tried to follow my plan against the Australian batsmen. For Ponting, it was to bowl to him on the fourth stump."

He said that when he went for 18 runs in his second over, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave him some valuable advice.

"When I went for 18 runs, Dhoni came to me and asked me to stick to my plans and not try something which was alien to me. It calmed me down and I began bowling to my strength," the Delhi speedster said.

Sharma, who has taken a heavy workload on this tour, including bowling full throttle at the nets, admitted he was feeling a bit tired at the end of the game.

"I am feeling a bit tired now, my stomach is paining. But having bowled long spells at Adelaide, I think my stamina is improving."

"I will continue to bowl properly at nets as it's the practice which makes you a better bowler," Ishant added.

Meanwhile, Ponting rubbished his batsmen for the poor display they put out in the middle.

"We were not good enough and were very poor in batting. We didn't have enough runs. We tried to stick to our task and had half a chance of winning and that's the only positive we have from the game."

"Their seamers bowled so well that Harbhajan could bowl his first six overs for six runs or something like that," he said.

Ponting now foresees an interesting tournament ahead, more so since his fast bowlers, particularly Brett Lee, are in need of rotation.

"It's a pretty interesting tournament now. The next couple of games are going to be pretty important for all the three teams. We now have a tight tussle on our hand."

"Lee bowled probably his quickest spell tonight but he is holding up very well. Perth (where Australia plays next) is the kind of venue where you need your best attack," he added.

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