If pacer Ishant sharma's ankle discomfort in yesterday's practice match is another case of an injury being hidden, it could spell... 

The Indian team management must have had their hearts in their mouths when Ishant Sharma complained of discomfort in his ankle just three balls into Day One of the two-day practice tie against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI here at the Manuka Oval yesterday.

India pacer Ishant Sharma bowls on Day One of the two-day practice tie
against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Manuka Oval yesterday.
He bowled 5.3 overs for seven runs & went wicketless. Pic/AFP

Ishant, hailed as a key weapon here in India's attempt to win their maiden Test series Down Under, returned later in the morning session to bowl a fiery spell that included a bouncer which nearly knocked Joe Burns off his feet, finishing with all of 5.3 overs as the hosts declared at 398-6.

Umesh Yadav took 3-39 off 15 overs.

He went off the field once again but returned to the field in the final session. Most of the Australian cricket fraternity at the ground was eager to know the status of Ishant's potential injury. 

Senior India fast bowler Zaheer Khan described Ishant's withdrawal as 'a minor thing'. "Nothing serious, really. It was just a precautionary measure. I had a brief chat with him, and the physio. Again, it was just a precautionary measure (to keep him off the field). He's fine now. I am not sure about the exact details. It's just a minor thing," Zaheer, who skipped the first practice tie but has confirmed his availability for the second match starting on Monday, told reporters yesterday.

In many ways, Zaheer might have unconsciously shot himself in the foot with that answer. If he had a brief chat with Ishant, reiterating that the Delhi pacer was suffering from a minor niggle, then how was it that he was not aware of "the exact details" of the injury?

If this is another case of an injury being hidden, a continuing trend in Indian cricket, it could spell bad news. In hindsight, it's perhaps unfair to query Zaheer as he might not have meant what he said.

Earlier, Chairman's XI began tentatively after being inserted to bat -- crawling to 53-2 in the first session (26 overs). But Wes Robinson (143) and Tom Cooper (182) added 226 runs for the third wicket in an exhilarating stand.

There was a passage of play when left-handed Robinson smashed Pragyan Ojha for five sixes in the space of four overs. Part-timer Rohit Sharma had to fill in with eight overs. Only Umesh Yadav enjoyed reasonable success -- removing Chairman's XI captain Ryan Broad in the 10th over and then striking twice in the final session.