Canberra: Stiffness, jet-lag, an ankle in need of re-strapping, or just micro-management on the part of Duncan Fletcher? Theories abounded as to the reason for Ishant Sharma bowling only 5.3 overs on the first day of India's opening tour match against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Canberra, the most notable episode in a forgettable start for the tourists.
An uncertain 2 for 45 after being sent in to bat by the acting Indian captain Rahul Dravid, the local XI ultimately reached a bountiful 6 for 398, led by dashing centuries from Wes Robinson and Tom Cooper. Umesh Yadav was the most incisive of the visiting bowlers, striking once in the first session and twice at the end in gathering gloom. They were watched by the CA chairman Wally Edwards, while the Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner Tim Mathieson was also in attendance to observe Ishant's enigmatic introduction to the summer of 2011-12.
Taking the new ball on a sleepy surface at Manuka Oval, Ishant went off the field twice in the space of his brief spell, and after his second exit midway through his sixth over, did not return. An Indian team official explained that Ishant had only planned to deliver six overs for the day, and when his ankle strapping came loose before it was concluded, he felt no need to return. Ishant was seen on the field later, but only to help run the drinks.