India look set to be without Ishant Sharma for the second Test match against New Zealand in Christchurch. The 31-year-old fast bowler participated in a nets session on Thursday evening but appears to be suffering from an ankle injury.
He'll be absent from the upcoming match against the Kiwis according to Cricbuzz. It's believed to be a recurrence of an injury that Sharma suffered in a Ranji Trophy game last month. Reports suggest that Umesh Yadav will step into the starting line-up as India look to level the series after a 10-wicket defeat in Wellington.
Sharma's injury could put his participation in the upcoming edition of the IPL into doubt. He is due to represent the Delhi Capitals in the spring. More immediately though, his loss will be keenly felt by the national team. Sharma has 297 Test wickets to his name in 97 matches at an average of 32.29. He leaves a big hole to fill whoever comes into the starting line-up to replace him.
India looking to bounce back
India's problems aren't only with the ball though. Their repeated failures with the bat mean Virat Kohli's side have plenty to improve upon going into the final game of the tour. The visitors were bowled out for 191 and 165 respectively at the Basin Reserve. Kohli's recent struggles – which included just 21 runs in the first five-day contest – have seen him slip behind Steve Smith in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen. Coach Ravi Shastri has suggested there is no need for his side to panic, but back-to-back defeats in New Zealand would be a blow given their previously dominant displays in the World Test Championship to date.