Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Intention was to get the outswing going: Mohammed Siraj. The seamer, who picked 3 for 19, described the ball to Ross Taylor as the "dream ball"
The seamer, who picked 3 for 19, described the ball to Ross Taylor as the "dream ball"
Even as Ajaz Patel's perfect 10 highlighted the day – making him only the third player in the history of international cricket to pick all the wickets in an innings – his team, New Zealand, had a rather forgetful outing on Day 2 of the second Test in Mumbai. After bowling out India for 325, their first innings with the bat was wrapped up in merely 28.1 overs.
As much as spin was expected to play a part and the threat of India's trio – R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav – looming, the visitors were grounded by the new-ball itself. In only 13 balls, Mohammed Siraj had picked the wickets of openers Will Young, Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, to leave New Zealand reeling at 17 for 3. India's spinners ensured that they could never recover from thereon and were bowled out for 62.
Even as Siraj was expected to play the deciding Test, the final confirmation came only following an injury to Ishant Sharma ahead of the match. Siraj, who was not a part of the XI in Kanpur, said that he made the most of the time to work on his outswing – a delivery that eventually proved lethal.
“Since I was injured earlier and didn't even play the first match, I continued to work on my bowling,” Siraj said at the end of second day's play. “I was practising with a single stump, trying to work on my outswing. I was preparing in a way that I should be ready for the next match. When I got the opportunity, my effort was to ensure that I consistently bowl in the same area and get the outswing going. The way I practised, I tried building on my rhythm, which helped me and got me success.
In a game where 20 wickets have fallen in less than two days of play, none apart from Siraj's three wickets on Saturday was picked by a seamer. Well aware that the Indian seamers would have little role to play in the match given that the ball was turning square from the second session itself, Siraj wanted to impose himself in the limited opportunity at hand.
“Since the spinners were dominating here, I knew that I might barely get three or four overs to bowl. But I wanted to ensure that in whatever little opportunity I do get, I will try to bowl with effort and consistently in the right areas. Even if get one or two wickets, that would help the team.”
But he got three – Young getting an outside edge to slip, Latham hooking to deep square leg and Taylor cleaned up with an outswing that missed the veteran batsman's outside edge; the last of which he feels was a ‘dream ball'.
On Day 1, Tim Southee too got ample swing and troubled the batters, but wasn't able to cause any destruction. The reason for that, as Siraj believes, was the channel of operation, something that he was better aware of for the conditions.
“My only aim was to bowl in the good areas, and finish at the stumps. If it swings from there, it causes trouble for the batsmen. The way the New Zealanders were bowling, a lot of deliveries were going outside the offstump. I was trying to hit the stumps with my line. When there was swing, it helped,” he explained.
With India batting again and taking control of the contest with an unbeaten 69-run partnership for the opening wicket, New Zealand have a lot of ground to make up in the match. By the fourth innings, it's unlikely that Siraj will have a big role to play but the visitors would look to pick a cue from his plans.