It has been a roller-coaster ride for pacer Mohammed Siraj, who has gone from making his debut in the second Test to leading the attack in the fourth Test.
On the fourth day, after a maiden five-wicket haul, the youngster said he was ready to take on the responsibility of shouldering the pace attack.
Siraj, who was seen helping other pacers on the ground, said, “I don't consider myself a senior bowler, but having played a lot of domestic and India-A games helped. I missed Jassi bhai (Jasprit Bumrah). So I had to take more responsibility, build pressure and did not try too many things.”
It was an emotional moment for Siraj, who lost his father before the series began. His being in Australia at the time meant he could not fly home for the funeral due to COVID protocols.
“I wish he was there to see this day. It is because of his blessings that I got a five-wicket haul. It was a tough situation but I got strength after talking to mom, and my focus was to realise dad's dream,” said the 26-year-old.
The pacer from Hyderabad added that the cracks on the wicket are something the Indian batsmen would have to keep an eye on on the final day.
“When they bowl, obviously there will be some confusion, it will play on the minds of the batsmen that there are cracks on the pitch. But our batsmen are prepared for this,” he said.
Keeping it simple
Steve Smith, likewise, reckoned the bowlers would have to keep it simple and not overdo things as Australia presses for victory.
“I think the more you go searching on these kinds of tracks, then you probably don’t get the reward. So it is just about hitting good areas consistently and letting the natural variation of the wicket take its course,” said Smith.
“I think the game is in a nice place for us. The wicket started to play a few tricks today. We saw a few balls shoot up, a couple kept a bit low and a couple went off cracks, which is always playing on the batter’s mind. So it is about hitting good areas and being nice and patient,” he added.