Former Team India left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan has applauded Mohammed Siraj for his ‘game-changing’ spell in the Mumbai Test against New Zealand. According to the veteran, picking up three big wickets on a pitch which was helping spinners was an amazing achievement as well.
After Ajaz Patel’s historic 10-wicket-haul which restricted India to 325 in their first innings of the Mumbai Test, Mohammed Siraj removed Tom Latham, Will Young and Ross Taylor very cheaply to put the Kiwis under pressure by reducing them for 17 for 3. New Zealand eventually folded for 62 as well.
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Analyzing the Mumbai Test, Zaheer Khan told BalleBaazi.com: “Another game-changing spell was by Siraj when he took three early wickets in his 1st spell. On a pitch that is assisting only spinners, pulling off a magical wicket like that of Ross Taylor was amazing. It was great to see Siraj playing to his strengths and attacking the three wickets in view. Then, it was our spinners trio- that not only added depth to our batting but the way they washed out the tail was great. Ashwin, Axar and Jayant were spot on.”
As per Zaheer Khan, Agarwal’s first-innings century was also important because it came at a time when the host needed runs on board. However, the opener scored 150 and 62 in both innings.
He stated: “I think Mayank Agarwal is my first choice because he batted at a time when the wicket was doing a bit and his innings in the 1st half of the test took the game too far from New Zealand’s grasp. You don’t see that kind of performance sometimes in a lifetime and it was great to see how he bowled long spells endlessly. Yes, he was tiring a bit but every time he took a wicket, you could see his body language change and he came back with a string of one or two more wickets.”
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Meanwhile, the veteran also lauded the veteran India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who continued to flaunt his skill and domination in the home conditions. He was named Player of the Series for picking up 14 wickets at an average of 11.36, eight of them coming in the second Test in Mumbai only.
“Ashwin has created a league of his own and he is also in the white-ball team because of which he is in a great space. Every time he has the ball in his hand, you know he will pull off some trick and make the batsman come on the front foot if he’s playing backfoot and vice-versa. He’s got the time to achieve the feat, and with this consistency, it would be appropriate that he becomes the kind of bowler who can perhaps surpass the great Anil Kumble,” Zaheer Khan concluded.