"I struggled with my rhythm in the two practice matches. These things happen when you haven't been playing cricket for too long. I didn't play much cricket before that and even in IPL, I played a very few games," Ishant said at the post-match press conference. (Agencies)
"I was bowling in the nets a lot but bowling in the middle is different. Now I am feeling a lot better and feel in rhythm, so I think I am bowling well," said Ishant whose three-wicket burst in the post-lunch session suddenly put India in the driver's seat.
Running through the England top-order, Ishant was full of praise for young pace colleague Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/61), who ran through lower middle-order.
"Bhuvi is a tremendous bowler. He used the conditions very well and bowled within his limitations. He knows that he can use the new ball well and he did just that, and he is a clever bowler. We have been talking and chatting quite a lot while bowling together, so I am enjoying bowling with him," he said.
On being asked if he was giving Bhuvneshwar and others advice as the senior-most bowler, Ishant said, "I am not the leader of this attack. I don't think about such things. All of us bowlers are of the same age. If at all, sometimes I share my experiences of past matches because I have played quite a few, but there's nothing like the leader of the attack."
The pitch has been the centre of attraction given that it's not a typical English wicket and has not aided the bowlers much. But Ishant claimed that this was not a factor.
"We cannot control the pitch. India is touring England and not the other way round. We will bowl on whatever pitch they will give us and try to take 20 wickets. The good thing about this pitch is that we know exactly how to bowl on such pitches.
"I have played enough matches to know on which wicket what length to bowl, how to bowl, when the ball is swinging or not swinging and when you have reverse swing. I am just relying on my experience on this tour," he said.
On being asked if India can force a victory in the Test, Ishant said, "We cannot say anything about victory yet. The pitch won't change a lot, it will only get slower. Things can change quickly in cricket, you might get a lot of wicket in a session and then you see that last two wickets have both scored more than 50 runs.”
"We can only try to get the last wicket quickly tomorrow, put up a good score and then get them out. We cannot even say how long that will take, how many sessions needed to bowl them out again on such a pitch," Ishant said.
"I struggled with my rhythm in the two practice matches. These things happen when you haven't been playing cricket for too long. I didn't play much cricket before that and even in IPL, I played a very few games," Ishant said at the post-match press conference.