Ojha backs batsmen to match mammoth score
Pragyan Ojha, the Indian left-arm spinner who toiled for 46 overs for one wicket on an unresponsive SSC pitch, believes that India should be able to bat their way out of trouble, with three days remaining in the Test.
"It's a very good wicket to bat on," Ojha said. "You have seen it for the last two days. Once you're set, you can just bat on. These guys [the Sri Lankan batsmen] have showed that as long as you can avoid silly mistakes, you're going to get a good score."
In reply to Sri Lanka's 642 for 4 declared, India made a positive start in the final hour of the second day, reaching 95 without loss. Virender Sehwag raced away to an unbeaten fifty, and the Sri Lankan attack - sans Murali and Malinga - didn't cause many problems. Ojha doesn't expect too much wear and tear on the pitch in the coming days.
"The way things are going, I don't think our batsmen will have any problem," Ojha said. "The wicket is rock-solid, and I just hope that our guys bat on and on."
Ojha and his bowling mates haven't had a great time on the trip so far, and the pitch at the SSC didn't give them much chance either. "There wasn't much turn for me," Ojha said. "It was coming on to the bat with the new ball and the old ball wasn't doing much.
"As a bowler, especially as a spinner, all you can do is to do the basics right, keep it tight and just make the batsmen struggle for each and every run. They shouldn't [be allowed to] get it easily."
This was the seventh straight time that India lost the toss in Tests. In Sri Lanka it becomes a big factor for touring teams, because the hosts are very good at ruling out a defeat once they win the toss in a home Test. "I think winning or losing the toss is not in our hands," Ojha said. "We would have liked to bowl second. If we would have got the amount of runs the Sri Lankans have got, it would have been different."
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo