Calcutta: Pragyan Ojha is confident that India will be able to eke out a face-saving draw at the Eden.
“Our guys are quite confident of saving the match. We have a good record on this ground… The way the wicket is playing, I’m quite confident that we will do well. The first session is very important… If we get one or two England wickets early, then the tail will open up and we can pack them up... It’s a very good batting wicket though,” the left-arm spinner said after the third day’s play.
“I think the pitch wasn’t doing much... It was a straight wicket… I had to bowl to my field and not give them easy runs. Yesterday (Thursday), I was trying hard to get wickets… Then I spoke to myself today (Friday), that I shouldn’t be giving easy runs. The outfield is very fast. The batsman doesn’t have to do too much hard work,” he remarked.
Ojha, who took three wickets, also defended Ravichandran Ashwin. “We are putting tremendous effort… We are trying very hard.”
Joe Dawes’ role has often come under the scanner, but Ojha said the bowling coach has been of help. “Joe always keeps working with us... He talks about the angles and variation with the crease. He’s good…”
On not bowling round the wicket, Ojha said: “Firstly, on Thursday, I tried bowling round the wicket, it was a bit easy for Cook to sweep from that line. I came over the wicket today (Friday), and tried bowling a middle and middle-leg line. It was difficult for him to sweep because the lbw came into play.”
While agreeing that both Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have been quicker through the air, Ojha felt that the Indian spinners should stick to their game plan.
“I think I saw a few matches of Monty before he came here... It is his natural pace. Guys like me and Ashwin can’t bowl at that pace. Our pace is different… You can’t ask someone who is bowling at 80-82 or 84kmph, to come to a game and start bowling at 100kmph. That’s impossible, I feel.”