Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj was the bowler who gave India its first breakthrough in the ongoing third Test match against Australia at Sydney. Day 1 saw Australia take the honors after finishing on 166/2, with Steve Smith (31*) and Marnus Labuschagne (67*) adding 60 runs for the third wicket.
Australia batted first after Tim Paine won the toss and saw David Warner returning to the team along with debutant Will Pucovski. However, Siraj got rid of Warner for the score of 5, having him caught by Cheteshwar Pujara.
Siraj had made his debut in the previous Test in Melbourne and picked five wickets in total, helping India win the match and level the series 1-1.
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Before the start of the day’s play at the SCG, Siraj was seen wiping his tears as the national anthem played with the teams out in the field. The photo was shared by Cricket Australia on their Twitter and many cricketers and fans reacted to the same.
Talking about the same, Siraj told reporters at the end of day 1, “Just remembered my father at that time. I was really emotional. He wanted me to see me playing Test cricket. Wish he could see me playing for India.”
Mohammed Siraj on why he got so emotional while the National Anthem was being played at the SCG.#TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/zo0Wc8h14A
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 7, 2021
Siraj’s father Mohammed Ghaus passed away while the Hyderabad pacer was preparing for the Test series in Australia. Siraj decided to stay back with the team despite being offered a chance by BCCI to come back and attend his father’s funeral.
Apart from this, the fast bowler also spoke about India’s plans during the first day.
“It is very a flat wicket. Our plan was to build pressure and not try too much as it is a very easy wicket for the batsman. Even the bouncers are not carrying as well it was in the earlier games. But Test cricket it is all about patience and we must keep that in mind,” said Siraj.
“Let’s see what happens tomorrow. The plan is to bowl in one tight channel and build pressure,” he added.
Siraj further said that he and other bowlers made a conscious effort to bowl bouncers at debutant Will Pucovski, who has a history of concussions.
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“Last match (the practice match) we were bowling short to him and in this game also we tried that as he was playing them and not leaving. So, the plan was to surprise him with an odd bouncer without shifting focus on line and length.
“Saini and I have played a lot of matches together for India A, so we bond really well. I was just telling him to do what we did in domestic cricket and India A,” he said.
The Hyderabadi pacer also touched upon the two dropped catches by Rishabh Pant, which gave Pucovski two lives in the middle.
“It is part of the game and you do get upset as a bowler when it happens. But it is something we can’t do much about…It becomes important to move on and focus on the next over,” Siraj said while adding that it does affect bowlers’ morale.