Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was full of praise for young Mohammed Siraj, who picked 5 wickets on debut at the MCG, and claimed that the Hyderabad seamer bowled with the maturity of a veteran. Sachin also reckoned that India are reaping rewards for batting Pant and Jadeja at 6 and 7.
Entering the Australia tour as the fourth choice seamer, the prospect of Mohammed Siraj getting a game looked unlikely when the Tests began, but an injury to Mohammad Shami opened the door for the youngster. The 26-year-old, who impressed in the warm-up games, grabbed his opportunity with both hands, as he picked up a total of five wickets in the game, and received plaudits for what many believed was the best performance by an Indian fast-bowler on debut, in many years.
The maturity and controlled aggression displayed by Siraj stood out, so much so that it caught the attention of the Master Blaster. Speaking to PTI, Sachin Tendulkar lavished praise on the youngster and observed that the 26-year-old showed maturity that transcended his experience.
“Let’s also not forget how Siraj has also bowled. It did not appear to me that he was playing his first Test match,” Sachin told PTI.
“The way he bowled his first over and then built it up gradually but never did it look that he was playing his first match. The plans were well thought out. He executed it well. Both debutants were comfortable in execution of their plans.”
Siraj did a great job complimenting spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who broke the back of the Aussies on the very first day, scalping four wickets. In the absence of Shami, Bumrah took his game up a notch, and Sachin noted that it was a sign that the 27-year-old was a champion cricketer.
“In the fast bowling department, Bumrah as the leader of the attack has taken more responsibility and whenever the chips are down, he has pushed himself harder. That’s the sign of a champion bowler,” the Master Blaster said of Bumrah.
Every tactical move employed by India worked at the MCG, and the most notable ploy was to promote both Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja up a position to No.6 and No.7 respectively. The move worked like a charm, with the duo counter-punching and frustrating the Aussies, and Sachin noted that it was a masterstroke from India to play five bowlers by batting Pant at No.6.
“Jadeja has batted well and it worked. We keep talking about five bowlers, but having Rishabh Pant at No. 6, Jadeja at No. 7 and Ashwin as No. 8 with four hundreds also helps.
“That partnership between Jadeja and Ajinkya was crucial. They added invaluable runs and that put them under pressure. Also crucial were runs that Pant was able to score,” he concluded.
The third Test will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7.