We may be just two matches down in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but there have already emerged plenty of positives for the Indian cricket team. In Adelaide, even though the tourists were pummelled by eight wickets, the fact remains that before India’s implosion in the second innings, they were on top after the first six session of the Test match. As they went into Melbourne, no one would have given a chance, but under stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, the team put up a defiant performance and squared the series 1-1.
Also Read | ‘Yuvraj has done it before, so why can’t I?’ Chris Gayle keen to emulate Yuvraj Singh’s feat of six sixes in an over
The architects of that win were many. Rahane led from the front and scored a magnificent century. Two players in their 20s – Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj – made their Test debuts and excelled. Ravindra Jadeja the batsman’s stocks continued to rise, whereas R Ashwin once again proved his credentials bowling abroad. There were several gains for India, but the one former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody was highly impressed with is Siraj. The fast bowler bowled amazingly well with the ball, picking up five wickets in the game with figures of 3/40 and 3/37.
“Mohammed Siraj, I think was really impressive. We’re talking another wonderful Indian cricket story. This is a young guy that’s come from a very humble upbringing, got his IPL chance at Sunrisers before going to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Now he’s playing Test cricket,” Moody said on ESPNCricinfo.
Also Read | ‘India’s MCG triumph right up there with World Cup win,’ Farokh Engineer lauds Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership
“To me, he looked every bit at home as Test cricketer. Whether he had the bowl in his hand or was at the top of his mark, or even when he was in the field. He tried to save every single run which is what you want from a captain’s and a coach’s perspective, which is so important.”
Siraj, who was one of the surprise inclusions when India’s squad for the tour of Australia was announced, came in for the injured Mohammed Shami and impressed immediately. He dismissed the dangerous Marnus Labuschagne caught down leg and set up all-rounder Cameron Green to get his wicket. In the second innings, he dismissed Travis Head, Green and Nathan Lyon as Australia folded for 200. Moody was bowled over by Siraj’s energy level and feels the 26-year-old can be a valuable asset for the team abroad.
Also Read | ‘Australians told me to get lost’: Sunil Gavaskar opens up on his infamous MCG walkout in 1981
“He chased it down with everything he possibly had, threw himself around in the field with a youthful experience, but my gosh, when he threw the ball, he knew exactly what he was doing, he knew his role, he bowled the right length, he challenged the batsmen’s front pat constantly,” Moody added.
“He’s quick enough to disturb top order players. India have found a keeper there and he’s someone who will thrive overseas as well because of the way he presents the seam. He can swing the ball and get movement off the pitch. He’s a great find for India.”