Despite returning with 4/61, a haul that included the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne for 91, Ravindra Jadeja called his effort to run Steve Smith out as his best display in the ongoing third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Smith, who finally found his form back and smashed his 27th Test century, was adding some quick runs for Australia with last batsman Josh Hazlewood.
With the India bowlers failing to cause much trouble to him, it was Jadeja’s brilliance in fielding that saw him lose his wicket in an unlikely fashion.
The right-haned batsman clipped one to the square leg and tried to take a double. But Jadeja swooped on the ball and hit the stumps straight from outside the 30-yard circle to catch the batsmen short on his second run as Australian innings came to an end at 338 in the post-lunch session on Day Two.
“For me the run out is one that I can just rewind and play. It is one of my best. Getting a direct hit from outside the 30-yard circle — I would call this my best, my favourite. As far as wickets are concerned, four or five wickets outside India are also very good but this moment stands out,” said Jadeja while speaking to reporters in a virtual interaction at the end of the day’s play.
“We had talked about the need to be patient because the wicket is not the kind where you can go out and take a wicket or two straightaway. We decided we have to make them play dot balls…The plan was to not give them easy boundaries, so that we could create pressure and get wickets,” Jadeja said.
Matthew Wade succumbed to pressure as he tried to hit Jadeja out but exposed Cameron Green and the tail to the new ball.
“The wicket was a bit slow and it was not easy to bowl on because there was not much turn in it. It was important to bowl at one spot,” said the left-arm spinner who picked the wickets of Labuschagne, Wade, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
“My thinking was to not leak runs and try create pressure from one side as much I could. This wicket isn’t such that you will get a chance in every over,” he added.
The 32-year-old further revealed he varied his speed in order to be more effective.
“You couldn’t bowl at one speed because on this wicket, which wasn’t helping. So you had to mix it up — slow with fast and also create angles,” said Jadeja.
“My idea was to bowl into the stumps and try and not give him (Steve Smith) easy runs. All other fast bowlers were bowling in the right areas and putting pressure on the batsmen,” he added.
India on Friday bowled out Australia for 338 in the second session before a solid start by openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill laid the foundation. India ended the day at 96/2.
Though both the opener departed at the twilight of the day, their 70-run stand has put India in a comfortable position. Rohit scored 26 in his comeback Test, while Gill made a gritty half-century.