WTC 2023 Final: “We decided to bowl bouncer…,” Siraj on India’s plan to dismiss Travis Head on Day 2

Siraj dismissed Head with a short delivery after the southpaw slammed a swashbuckling ton on Day 1.

Mohammed Siraj | GettyTeam India endured a terrible opening day in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 final against Australia.

Skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl first. Considering the overcast conditions and a green-tinged pitch at The Oval, Indian bowlers were expected to get the better of the Australian batting line-up.

However, it turned out exactly opposite as the duo of Travis Head and Steve Smith made a mockery of the Indian bowling attack to propel Australia to a massive 327/3 at stumps on Day 1.

After the close of play, India’s tactics of not using the short ball against Head was questioned, forcing them to change their plans the following day.

On Day 2, Head, who was unbeaten on 146 overnight, was eventually dismissed by Mohammed Siraj with a short delivery. Indian bowlers did a lot better job on the second day, picking up seven wickets for 142 runs to bundle out Australia for 469 in their first innings.

Siraj, who was India’s stand-out bowler with four wickets, said that the team planned to bowl only bouncers to Travis Head irrespective of the outcome after his swashbuckling century on the second day.

“There was sticky bounce yesterday morning and seam movement. Thereafter, there was not enough swing from the six metre length and batters were having it easy. Head batted extraordinarily as well. We could have bowled with better lines,” Siraj told reporters on Thursday (June 8).

“We decided to bowl bouncer only to Head and if he get hit from there then so be it. We stuck to it and got success. We built pressure did not give too many runs that also helped. We used bouncers yesterday as well but the chances went in the gap.

“There were four-five chances off my bowling only. If we did not bowl well, Australia would have crossed 500,” he added.

Siraj added that the pitch had more pace and uneven bounce on the second day.

“There is more pace in the wicket and there is uneven bounce. We also bowled well but the way Head batted he forced us to push our lengths back.”

On throwing the ball back to Steve Smith after the Australian batter completed his hundred in the first over of the day, Siraj said: “It was nothing. I was just enjoying. It is important to do that as it is a long day.”

Coming to the match, the Aussies were right on the money with the ball as they reduced India to 71/4, with key batters like Rohit Sharma (15), Shubman Gill (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (14) and Virat Kohli (14) getting out cheaply.

Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja steadied the ship by adding 71 runs for the fifth wicket. While Jadeja was dismissed for 48, Rahane stayed unbeaten on 29 alongside KS Bharat (5*) as India finished the second day at 151/5, trailing Australia by 318 runs.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 09 Jun, 2023

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