India pulled off dominating series whitewash against Sri Lanka in a three-match series on Sunday, January 15, when the Men in Blue registered their biggest-ever ODI victory, by a margin of 317 runs. Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif asserted that pacer Mohammed Siraj had been the biggest plus for India throughout the three-match series.
India’s batting innings were dominated by the centurions, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli. After Gill’s 97-ball 116, Kohli notched up a magnificent century and remained unbeaten for a 110-ball 166 at the end of India’s 50-over quota. But Siraj was phenomenal throughout the series and he ended as the highest wicket-taker in the series with nine scalps to his name at an average of 10.22 and a brilliant economy of 4.05.
Describing the same during a chat with Star Sports, Mohammad Kaif said, “The biggest positive has been Mohammed Siraj. Wanting to win the World Cup in India in flat conditions, I think Mohammed Siraj has done so well. If you see the last couple of matches, he’s been bowling really well, getting the breakthrough with the new ball. He has got wickets even when he comes in to bowl towards the end.”
India clinched the series early by winning the first two games but completed a whitewash on Sunday. Siraj stole the spotlight in the second innings when he bowled a spell of 4/32 and put the visitors in trouble. He dismissed the entire top order, including Avishka Fernando, Nuwaindu Fernando, and Kusal Mendis.
Mohammed Siraj finally picked up Wanindu Hasaranga’s wicket and apart from praising the pacer for his heroics, Mohammad Kaif also claimed that the Men in Blue need to work on their death bowling in the white-ball format because India currently does not have any specialist bowler for the final few overs, with Jasprit Bumrah being out due to injury.
Mohammad Kaif elaborated, “They have Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav who can take wickets in the middle overs. They have Umran Malik who can get wickets in the middle overs. But in the first ODI we saw that in the last 13 overs, there was no wicket taken by the Indian bowlers. Shanaka scored 100 in that game, although Sri Lanka lost the game, but I think we need to improve on our death bowling. That’s where we are missing Bumrah very much because he is a genuine match-winner, a wicket-taker.”