Off-spinner presents himself with an early birthday gift as the visitors are bowled out for 241

Parveez Rasool learnt his cricket amid the mountains. His emergence as a player of national reckoning from the cricketing backwaters of Jammu & Kashmir is a story in itself.

Rasool can, indeed, take wing on the cricketing arena with his flight. The off-spinner rocked the Australian batting with his sensational seven for 45 from 28.3 overs of probing off-spin. His engaging display of bowling on a pitch offering purchase was marked by an essential ingredient — control.

The Australians, stumbling in their first test against spin on this Indian campaign, were dismissed for 241, on Tuesday, the opening day of the two-day match against Board President’s XI at the IC-Guru Nanak ground. The touring side had elected to bat.

Rasool, an off-spinning all-rounder, will have good reasons to celebrate his 24th birthday on Wednesday. His was a display of strong, traditional off-spin bowling with a clean action.

Following Bedi’s advice

He remembered an important piece of advice from his coach, the legendary Bishan Singh Bedi.

“I was trying the doosra once and he asked me if I had a good off-spinner why would I need the other delivery. I have always remembered that.”

The off-spinner was also easy on the eye. He was bowling from a good side-on position, was pivoting and giving the ball a rip. There was turn and bounce for Rasool.

Left-handed opener Ed Cowan (58, 109b, 8x4, 1x6) drove and worked the ball around before being done in by a Rossol delivery that spun away from him.

Rasool varied his length and trajectory, used the crease, and sent down a good quicker one. The short-leg came into play when Steve Smith (41) was caught off a delivery that spun sharply into him. And the left-handed Mathew Wade (35), trying to hit against the spin over long-on, ended up miscuing to long-off.

Importantly, Rasool was making the batsmen come on to their front foot by giving the ball air; this also meant they did not know the extent of the turn and got themselves into a tangle. The Australians lost their way from 167 for two.

Collapse

Earlier, Cowan and another left-hander Usman Khwaja (32) added 77 for the first wicket and then Wade and Smith got off to starts. The visitors, subsequently, collapsed.

Sarabjit Ladda, who bounds in to the wicket and is largely quicker through the air, supported Rasool well.

There were occasions when the leg-spinner troubled the batsmen with away spin and bounce but Ladda needs to alter his length and develop an effective googly. Being short statured, Ladda would have been ideally suited to bowl the flighted stuff with the dip. But then, he chose to operate to a flatter trajectory for most part and this explains his leap before release to deliver from a higher point. In the end, it was a smiling Rasool who led the side back to the pavilion.

Large-hearted

“He has that technical purity that several spinners of this generation lack. And he is a large-hearted, brave spinner,” said Bedi, speaking to The Hindu.

Bedi added, “He is well balanced and gives the ball a real tweak. Talent has a way of showing itself and I was sure that he would one day be in contention for an India place.

“He needs to keep his focus on playing for India and not get swayed by the shortest format of the game.”

Rasool certainly made the right impression here as the Aussies floundered.

The scores:

Australian XI — 1st innings: Ed Cowan c Parthiv b Rasool 58, U. Khwaja c Jadhav b Ladda 32, M. Wade c Makwana b Rasool 35, S. Smith c Mandeep b Rasool 41, G. Maxwell c Parthiv b Binny 0, M. Henriques c Uthappa b Ladda 16, P. Siddle c Mandeep b Rasool 22, J. Pattinson c Ladda b Rasool 9, N. Lyon (not out) 12, J. Bird b Rasool 1, A. Agar st. Parthiv b Rasool 0; Extras (b-6, lb-4, w-5): 15; Total (in 88.3 overs): 241.

Fall of wickets: 1-77, 2-109, 3-167, 4-169, 5-192, 6-198, 7-228, 8-229, 9-237.

Board President’s XI bowling: Shami 14-3-50-0, Awana 10-3-17-0, Binny 10-2-29-1, Rasool 28.3-9-45-7, Ladda 26-3-90-2.

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