Seamer Mohammed Shami, who scalped six Australian wickets in the second innings of the Perth Test, has emphasised on the fact that India should have fielded a full-time spinner on a lush green wicket as Australian tweaker Nathan Lyon was successful in troubling the Indian batsmen. The Aussie spinner has already picked seven wickets so far in the second Test. Speaking at a press conference, Shami said: “The team management makes these decisions. We can’t do anything about it. We had one spinner who didn’t bowl badly. (But) If you ask me, I feel there should have been a spinner, but these things depend on your management.”
After wrapping up the Australian innings for 243, India were reduced to 112/5 while chasing 287 on the fourth day. The hosts have pushed the Indian side on backfoot and the seamer believes that it was due to the lack of a balanced bowling attack, India find themselves in this position.
“After such a long time we have an Indian pace attack where all the bowlers are fast and are bowling good lines and lengths. Four years ago we weren’t even this experienced. You must have seen the difference in our accuracy from four years ago,” said Shami.
He further stated, “It helps a lot to have a good bowler at the other end, who has the same mentality as you and is keeping things tight. This keeps the pressure up, and sometimes you don’t even realise when the game turns your way. The bowler at the other end is sometimes just as important.”
Speaking on his career-best spell, the seamer said, “I always try to bowl a good line and length. Rest is up to your luck, how many wickets you get or not. Your approach has to be good. If you are playing Test cricket, you have to focus on your line and length. You will get the wickets automatically. Sometimes when you have a long partnership, you have to wait, especially on a wicket like this where we were beating them again and again. It wasn’t as if we were bowling bad balls, but even on bowling good lengths, we were not getting wickets. As soon as we got a wicket the momentum changed and we used it.”
Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant will resume the Indian chase on Day 5, as the visitors require 175 with five wickets in hand. India at one stage were struggling at 55/4, with Nathan Lyon dismissing Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay in the space of three overs.
Shami also said that the result isn’t important as the team has put up a spirited fight on tough conditions, where batsmen from both the teams are finding it difficult to score runs. “It is part of the game. Winning and losing happens. We will just look forward. “You can see first two days the wicket was very good. But third day it was going a little up and down, and there was uneven bounce as well. And the ball is keeping low at times as well. But it is like a normal Perth wicket and that’s how it has played so far. It is in everybody’s minds that on days 3 and 4 there will be some up and down and we are getting to see this so far,” he said.
Speaking on the tussle between skipper Virat Kohli and Australian captain Tim Paine, the seamer said, “We cannot say much about it. It is part of the game, but nothing too serious. When you play Test cricket it is a long match and you have a long time so a little bit aggression is there and sometimes you react on the moment. We don’t need to mind these things too much. It is part of the game. If these things don’t happen in the match then I think the match won’t be interesting either.”
“Maybe in that moment, things get heated up but it is not something to be made a big issue out of. According to me, we should leave this here.”
Paine continued to display an aggressive nature even when the Indian skipper was dismissed, as he was seen sledging opener Murali Vijay in Kohli’s name. Shami said these things shouldn’t be taken personally.
“I have said earlier too that this is a part of the game and we don’t take it personally. If there is no sledging, you won’t enjoy the game and the public won’t enjoy the game. If there is aggression, the match becomes more interesting. It is part of the game as it should be,” he said.
India are currently leading the four-match Test series 1-0 after securing a 31-run victory at Adelaide Oval.