‘The Aussie media should answer that’
Having produced his best Test figures against Australia, Ishant Sharma took great delight in rubbishing the notion his no-ball dramas were the reason for a skittish start to the game in Perth.
Sharma dismissed Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood with consecutive deliveries on Saturday to end Australia's first innings of the second Test and finish with 4-41.
It came after days of scrutiny, triggered by his habit of overstepping in the four-Test series opener at Adelaide Oval.
Sharma emphatically denied the headlines, including a report that revealed he should have been called for 16 no-balls in Australia's first innings of the first Test, affected his mindset at Optus Stadium.
"Maybe the Australian media should answer that question more than me," Sharma quipped.
"Because it doesn't affect me to be very honest.
"I know that I've been playing cricket for so long and all these things happen because you're a human. You're bound to make a mistake.
"I was not at all worried about all these things."
Nonetheless, the veteran was far from his best early on day one of the second Test.
The 30-year-old was taken out of the attack after struggling to hit the 130 km/h mark in his fourth over, which featured three boundaries and a no-ball. Former Australia pacemen Damien Fleming and Glenn McGrath felt the public no- ball discussions may have been a factor in Sharma's ineffectual opening spell. Sharma offered a different explanation.
"The wicket was really slow ... it wasn't up and down," he said.
"First hour (on day one) was the best time to bat on that kind of wicket."
Sharma removed Peter Handscomb, thanks to a spectacular one-handed slips catch from Virat Kohli, and Travis Head, who picked out Mohammed Shami in the deep, on day one before cleaning up the tail on day two.
Kohli suggested prior to the second Test Sharma was filthy with himself for overstepping so often in Adelaide and determined to make amends.
"He was very keen to rectify it. I don't think it was something that needed to be spoken about again and again," Kohli said.
"He's a responsible cricketer, he's been around a long time and he understands what needs to be corrected."
ISHANT SHARMA'S BEST TEST FIGURES AGAINST AUSTRALIA
* 4-41 (2018, Perth)
* 4-77 (2008, Bangalore)
* 3-34 (2010, Mohali)