Mohammad Siraj vs Australia A: The right-arm fast bowler grabbed career-best figures to dent the opposition.
With the culmination of the quadrangular series, the next leg of Australia A’s tour of India kicked-off in the morning today with the first day of the first of the two Test series. Being led by Mitchell Marsh, who was making a comeback into cricket after a few months of injury, Australia A won the toss and elected to bat first.
With Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Marsh and Alex Carey in the playing eleven, the opposition comprised of a solid batting line-up. Khawaja and Kurtis Patterson opened the batting for them, registering an impressive 78-run partnership against the likes of Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav and Ankit Rajpoot.
Just when India A desperately needed wickets, Siraj entered the picture, dismissing four opposition batsmen in the same spell. Having bowled Patterson (31) to commence the outburst in the 26th over, Siraj also got rid of the dangerous trio of Head (4), Handscomb (0) and Marsh (0).
Meanwhile, Khawaja was determined enough to counter this fierce spell from the 24-year old right-arm fast bowler. The southpaw batted till the end, becoming the last Australian wicket to fall. In which was his 26th First-class hundred, Khawaja ended up scoring 127 (228) with the help of 20 fours.
The innings should aid in getting on the plane to UAE for the tour to Pakistan later in the year. The 31-year old batsman was usually criticized for his record on the Asian wickets. In the five matches that he has played on the Asian soil, he has scored 117 runs at a paltry average of 14.62, contrary to his overall career average of 42. An innings like is likely to make a statement on his behalf about his game in Asia.
Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne (60) were also involved in a 114-run recovery act as it provided some credibility to the Australian innings. However, it was Siraj, who once again broke the partnership and then also ran through the Australian tail as Australia A were bundled out on 243 in 75.3 overs. Siraj ended up registering magnificent figures of 19.3-7-59-8.
With a bowling performance such as this, Siraj has made his stronger for a spot in the international side. He has earlier represented India in three T20Is. Bowling average of 49.33 and an economy rate of 12.33 are evident of the fact that he was without much success during his appearances at the highest level. That being said, these numbers should not deny him a position in other formats.
Kuldeep Yadav, who was sent back from the England to get some match practice, also chipped in with a couple of wickets.
In the 12 overs that the Indian openers in Ravikumar Samarth (10) and Mayank Agarwal (31) batted, they scored 41 runs without anyone of them getting out. With a mediocre total on the board by Australia A, the Indian batting line-up would be looking to build a significant lead. Given the form Agarwal is in, one can expect him to play another formidable innings tomorrow.
Talking about Siraj, the pacer was praised heavily on social media platform Twitter for his spectacular performance. Watch some of the tweets below:
🔥🔥🔥 from Mohammed Siraj!
The India A pacer took a stunning 8/59 to bowl Australia A out for 243 despite a fine 127 from @Uz_Khawaja.
— ICC (@ICC) September 2, 2018
Mohammad Siraj is playing his fifth first-class match for India A in the past two months. In that time he has taken 37 wickets, including eight today. https://t.co/nGvTKlBjaG
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) September 2, 2018
SIRAJ has to play Tests in Australia alongside bumrah,Ishant. https://t.co/TDP57HUrAx
— SwingAndSeam (@swing_seam) September 2, 2018
Meanwhile in India, Mohammad Siraj has taken 8 wickets in an outstanding spell of fast bowling for India A against Australia A. 8/59 , he has been bowling quite impressively in recent times.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) September 2, 2018
Wow Siraj took 8 wickets himself leaving the rest two for Kuldeep 👏👏👏 https://t.co/vrbDkwQXBB
— Kevin Fernandes (@kevin88fern) September 2, 2018
Siraj has piked up his fifth with a snorter! An outswinging yorker to beat Labuschagne’s defence and whack middle stump. Gorgeous sight.
— Varun Shetty (@varunshetty) September 2, 2018
— parminder_verma (@offical_verma) September 2, 2018
Siraj in multi-day format >>> Siraj in limited overs format #IndAvAusA
— Naseer (@BeingYuvNaseer) September 2, 2018
Mohammed Siraj has just taken 8 wickets on Day 1 against Australia A at Bengaluru. Australia A having Khawaja, Head, Handscomb and Marsh in the team. Looks like he’ll be getting a Test call up soon.
— Aprajit (@Wazzzir) September 2, 2018