India still playing to win: Sharma

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ishant Sharma said he and his colleagues changed their bowling strategy after giving away easy runs to the Australian batsmen last evening.

Updated: November 08, 2008 14:34 IST
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Indian pacer Ishant Sharma on Saturday said he and his colleagues changed their bowling strategy after giving away easy runs to the Australian batsmen last evening which paid rich dividends for the hosts.

"We went for a few runs last evening and changed our strategy today. We stuck to a disciplined line and bowled in the right areas," Ishant, who picked up two wickets by bowling unflaggingly right through the innings said after the third day's play in the fourth and final Test here.

Australia, chasing India's first innings total of 441 and starting at their overnight score of 189 for two in 49 overs, got stumped by Indian bowlers' tactics and lost their remaining wickets for only 166 runs in 85.4 overs at the new VCA stadium.

However, the lanky Delhi pacer did not buy the theory that Indian bowlers bowled a negative line and said the idea was to stem the flow of runs by throwing new challenges to the tourists.

"It was not a negative line that we bowled. The attempt was to stop the flow of runs and offer new challenges to them. We had certain plans for different players. To give away 150-160 runs and take eight wickets is very satisfactory. That's what your side expects from you (bowlers)," he said.

"We were given a role to do and stuck to it," he added.

Ishant, who got rid off dangerous Michael Clarke with a gem of a ball that took the edge of the Australian vice captain's bat, said both he and senior pace partner Zaheer Khan were in great rhythm which allowed the duo to bowl long spells this morning. "We both had good rhythm and that's why we bowled 18 overs together," he said.

Ishant also did not agree to the view that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the second new ball too late in the day, saying it was the old ball and reverse swing that helped the pacers do most of the damage.

"All the wickets we took earlier were with reverse swing and not with the new ball," he said about Dhoni's move to summon the second new ball only after 125 overs when it was due 45 overs earlier.

Ishant indicated that though the hosts were 1-0 ahead in the series and comfortably placed with a lead of 86 runs in the first innings here, they are eyeing to clinch a victory.

"Obviously, we will play to win," Sharma said. "We always want to win.

"Our efforts will be concentrated towards looking for a victory. It is better to win 2-0 rather than 1-0."

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