India’s debutant pacer Mohammed Siraj on Monday said that the MCG track has slowed down considerably and to wipe off the Australian tail, they will have to hit one area consistently. The Indian bowlers, despite Umesh Yadav’s injury early into the second innings, reduced the home team to 133 for six. The hosts have just a two-run lead with four wickets remaining in the second Test.
“The track on the first day was very helpful for bowling but it has become very slow today. Not much is happening and there wasn’t much swing on offer. The key is to remain patient and hit one area consistently,” Siraj said during the virtual media conference.
His senior pace bowling partner Jasprit Bumrah told him that the only way to get wickets on a flat deck is to build pressure with a lot of dot balls.
“Jassi bhai told me that don’t try anything different. Bowl in one are and create pressure with dot balls and there should be equal focus on each ball,” the 26-year-old Hyderabad pacer said, having already got three wickets in the match including that of Travis Head in the second innings.
Siraj’s elevation as a Test bowler has happened in the wake of some great performances for Hyderabad and India A at the first-class level.
“During lockdown, I had worked very hard on my fitness and that’s paying off well. I did well for India A in red ball format and that really helped and after my good performance with the white ball in this year’s IPL, I got confidence that I can do well for senior team also and hopefully, I will keep up the good work in future too,” he said.
What helped Siraj perform impressively with the red kookaburra is his experience of playing for A team in New Zealand earlier this year.
“The SG seam is more pronounced and the kookaburra seam flattens quickly like it has happened now. I bowled well in New Zealand during A tour and that experience helped me a lot.
“Actually, if you see there is not much difference as to how you perform in Ranji Trophy and at this level. Yes, performances at the Test level has its own value but the basics don’t change,” he said.
He is indebted to Indian team’s bowling coach Bharath Arun, who was also his mentor when he first came up the ranks for the Hyderabad Ranji side.
“I have always said about Arun sir’s contribution in my career. When he was Hyderabad coach, he would tell me, ‘The kind of quality you have, you can get any batsman out in world cricket.’ Same here before my Test debut, he gave me a lot of encouragement,” he said.
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