Root's shot selection surprises Siraj

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Rajkot, Feb 17 (PTI) Pacer Mohammed Siraj is surprised that a well-set Joe Root preferred to play a reverse ramp shot off Jasprit Bumrah and ended up losing his wicket to hand India advantage in the third Test here Saturday.


Root was batting at 18, having spent almost an hour at the crease. Trying to improvise, Root attempted a reverse ramp over the slip only to find Yashaswi Jaiswal at second slip.

His partnership with centurion Ben Duckett (153) was steady but after his dismissal England could not add even 100 runs to the total. The visitors conceded a huge 126-run lead.

"Ben Duckett's partnership was growing with Root, if he had played a little more, then it would have been difficult for us. But suddenly he played that shot which didn't look (like one) to be played," Siraj said during media interaction after the day's play.


"But it turned out good for us and after that (Ben) Foakes and Ben Stokes had a good partnership, and then Stokes played a shot (which got him out) and we got into the game from there," he added.

Siraj praised young India opener Jaiswal for his rapid 104-run knock.

"The way he is batting, his confidence is very high. He is not looking behind and is totally focussed on what lies ahead and he is carrying on with that confidence. The message from the team is that he should continue the way he has been doing.


"We only think of taking the game as forward as possible so that we (bowlers) should also recover because we are bowling long spells and fielding. The more we are able to recover the fresher we will be for the second innings," Siraj said. The fast bowler said the Indian bowlers will have to keep targeting the stumps in the fourth innings, as straying from bowling plans would only invite trouble.

"I reckon the ball will keep a little low on the fourth day but cannot say anything accurately for this wicket. Whatever I have assessed of this wicket, the more you are able to bowl at the stumps, you are more likely to get success. If you bowl wide, you may leak runs," he added.

The pitch here at the Niranjan Shah Stadium has not developed enough cracks yet for the spinners to have a bigger say but Siraj said they will have an impact.


"Spinners will obviously be effective in the fourth innings because the ball is turning. Not all six delivers (in an over) are turning but one odd one is. You can get wickets if you bowl with patience at one spot.

"Today we did not try anything apart from bowling at the stumps. Had we tried more, maybe we would not have got the wickets," Siraj said.

Siraj, who executed his yorkers perfectly to take 4/84 in England’s first innings, said playing mind games becomes crucial on such wickets.


"It is a flat and slow wicket and we have to make a plan. You should put it down in the batsman's mind that he (the bowler) is bowling the bouncer or the slower one to keep him confused. I planned the yorker and executed it well and got the wicket and the momentum shifted." The India pacer said the absence of off-spinner R Ashwin, who withdrew from the Test owing to a medical emergency in family, meant the other bowlers had to bowl longer spells.

"In the morning when we got to know that Ash bhai is not there, more responsibility fell on us. Rohit bhai told us that we would have to bowl long spells, and I love bowling long spells," he said.

"For a fast bowler in Test cricket, one cannot set up a batsman in three-four overs. We got success due to long spells. Ash bhai was our fifth bowler and I only wish that his mother gets well soon. If you bowl long spells you should not try much but be consistent with it (line and lengths).

"They (England batters) are not used to defending all six balls in an over, if they have defended on two, they are going to attack the third," Siraj said. PTI DDV AT AT