Kingston (Jamaica): Hanuma Vihari was all praise for Ishant Sharma after the pair's heroics on Day 2 of India's second Test against West Indies helped the visitors post a first innings total of 416. Vihari and Ishant combined to put up 112 runs for the eighth wicket. It was Vihari's first Test hundred while Ishant reached a maiden Test fifty.
"He looked more like a batsman than me the way he was going," Vihari told reporters after the day's play. "We discussed what the bowlers were trying to do and his experience counted a lot there. When you are batting at no 6 the intent has to be positive. At that position you will be batting with a batsman and then a wicket falls and you will be with the wicketkeeper or the lower order.
"When I went in, Virat (Kohli) was batting beautifully. The confidence rubbed off and I started very well. Today was very different, it was not free flowing. That's how it is in Test cricket and as I said a lot of credit goes to Ishant."
Vihari said that he was not able to sleep too well after Day 1 and was looking to be patient in the first session on Saturday as the West Indies bowlers looked to clean up the Indian lower order.
"When I was batting overnight on 42, I didn't sleep very well. My thoughts were on how to get a big score and I am happy that I crossed that three-figure mark. I'm really happy to get a hundred in those conditions," he said.
"I knew they would come hard in the first session, that is the best way to get us out early. They did get an early wicket but I just wanted to bat patiently, wait for the balls which were in my area. I was batting at 82 during Lunch. I was patient, they were bowling really well. We scored 400 plus but that doesn't show the way they bowled. It was challenging conditions and I really relished it," he said.
Vihari said that he dedicates this century to his late father. "My dad passed away when I was 12 and ever since I had decided that when I play international cricket I want to dedicate my first 100 to him. Today is a very emotional day and I hope he is proud wherever he is," he said.
The 25-year-old also said that Ishant's performance with the bat in this series shows that India's tail can also produce runs. "They (tail-enders) all work really hard in the nets. The way Ishant batted in this series shows the character of this team. In the last game as well, Ishant and (Ravindra) Jadeja had a crucial partnership. The lower order always contributes in good teams and we are really happy we achieved it," he said.
Vihari and Ishant's heroics were however overshadowed somewhat by Jasprit Bumrah, who took a hat-trick later in the day as India reduced West Indies to 87/7. Bumrah ended the day with six wickets.
"He is a top bowler. Any opposition would say that they fear facing Bumrah. We all recognise it and really enjoy watching him bowl. We are really happy that he is in our team rather than the opposition. He has got a long career ahead and I wish he takes a lot more hat-tricks," said Vihari.