Ravi Ashwin, Steve Smith
Ravi Ashwin, Steve Smith. (Photo: Twitter)

Indian paceman Mohammed Siraj attributed the success enjoyed by Steve Smith against Ravichandran Ashwin on Day 1 of the third Test to an easy-paced pitch in Sydney.

Australia’s premier batsman Smith found troubles facing Ashwin, the Indian off-spinner, in the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. But on Thursday (January 7) he turned his fortunes around and put the pressure back on Ashwin to end with an unbeaten 31 by the close of play.

Apart from Smith, debutant Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne also batted well and struck half-centuries to ensure Australia reach a pretty solid position at 166/2.

Sachin Tendulkar, Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin dismisses Steve Smith [Photo-Twitter]

The Sydney Wicket Too Easy To Bat On: Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj pointed towards the lack of bounce and pace observed on Day 1 to explain Australia’s dominance, especially Smith. But the speedster also said the Indians are encouraged by the semblance of turn late in the day.

“The wicket is very easy to bat on which is why they were coming down the track easily. But if you see towards the end, there was some turn, Jaddu (Jadeja) bhai and Ash (Ashwin) bhai got turn, so they were on the backfoot. Let us see what happens tomorrow,” said Mohammed Siraj at a media interaction after the day’s play.

Our Plan to Was To Keep Building Pressure: Mohammed Siraj

India, Rohit Sharma, Australia, Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj [Photo-Twitter]
Siraj said recognising the flat nature of the deck, Indian bowlers were intent on maintaining a good line and length. On a rain-interrupted day, the Indian attack went for just above 3 runs per over and took a couple of wickets.

“This wicket is quite flat and the ball is coming on to the bat. Our plan was to keep building pressure, bowling in one area. We don’t want to try much because it is very easy for batsmen to play on this surface. Even the bouncer was not like what was in Melbourne,” said Siraj.

Dropped Catches Are Part Of The Game: Siraj

Rishabh Pant, Ricky Ponting
Rishabh Pant [Photo-Twitter]
Siraj also came to the defence of wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after he faced criticism for his two drop chances on Day 1 at the SCG. Pant spilt the catches offered by Pucovski, one of Siraj’s bowling and the other while keeping to Ashwin.

“Dropped catches are part of the game. It was disappointing for a while but then we said that if something had to happen, it happens. You can’t stop it. We decided to take it ball by ball and not dwell in the past,” said Siraj.

Siraj started off the Test match on a wonderful note, taking the wicket of Australia’s explosive opening batsman David Warner for just 5. The pacer had taken five scalps in the previous Test where India registered a famous victory to level the series 1-1.