India’s Ravindra Jadeja made two important points with his eighth five-wicket test haul on Friday – that he is not in the team just to play second fiddle to spin colleague Ravichandran Ashwin and that he does not need dustbowls to succeed.
If India are still in the third test against Australia, it is due largely to the indefatiguable left-arm spinner who came up with a lion-hearted effort to restrict the tourists.
Jadeja bowled more than one third of his team’s total overs, claimed 5-124 and effected a spectacular run-out with his back to the stumps to wrap up the Australia innings.
The 28-year-old became the leading wicket-taker in the four-test series, overtaking off-spinner Ashwin, who has taken only one in the match.
Jadeja is level on points with Ashwin at the top of the ICC rankings for test bowlers and the bearded all-rounder with tousled hair proved why.
“Jaddu is going through the best phase of his career,” team mate Umesh Yadav said after the second day’s play.
“I think Jaddu is the kind of bowler whose bowling style suits all kind of wickets. The kind of variation he has, he never moves away and bowls tirelessly at the same spot.
“If he gets the tiniest of rough, he knows where to pitch it. He is getting the reward for his accuracy.”
On a track which has not offered prodigious turn or uneven bounce yet, Jadeja’s exploits drew praise from Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
“He was hitting a consistent spot where, if it skidded on straight it was hitting the stumps, and if it spun you were a chance to nick it,” said Maxwell, who scored his maiden test century on Friday.
“It was just an awkward length. It took him a while to find that length against us. We were able to find singles and manipulate the field a bit yesterday afternoon but today he was pretty accurate.”
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke expressed a similar view on Twitter.
“Once again 5 wickets for Jadeja. On a wicket that hasn’t had much spin or bounce in this first innings he has been a class above,” Clarke tweeted.