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‘Wicket is very easy to bat on’: Mohammad Siraj after Day 1 of third Test against Australia

Mohammad Siraj, who took five wickets in the debut Test in Melbourne, further said that the ball is coming on to the bat quite well at the SCG.

SNS | New Delhi |

Australia batsman Steve Smith was able to forget his recent miseries and batted diligently against India on Day 1 of the third Test because the Sydney wicket was “easy to bat on”, said Mohammd Siraj.

Smith, who did not look at his usual self in the first two Tests, had aggregated just 10 runs in three innings of the first two Tests of the series.

Smith – undoubtedly Australia’s premier batsman in Test cricket – had been far from his best form with Ravichandran Ashwin getting the better of him twice and Jasprit Bumrah once.

However, on Thursday he looked comfortable at the middle and quite easily stepped out against the spinner, hinting that the confidence in his willow was back.

“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 Siraj during the media interaction after the end of the day’s play.

Siraj, who took five wickets in the debut Test in Melbourne, further said that the ball is coming on to the bat quite well at the SCG.

“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,” the 26-year-old said.

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant dropped opener Will Pucovski twice with the opener going onto make 62. One of the catches was off Siraj’s bowling while the other was off Ashwin’s bowling.

Speaking about that, Siraj said: “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.”

Gritty knocks from Marnus Labuschagne and debutant opener Will Pucovski and a determined play from Stev Smith on Thursday put Australia at the front seat after the end of the first day’s play in the third Test against India.

On what was a rain-hit day in Sydney, Australia reached 166/2 at Stumps, thanks to Puckovski’s 62 and Labuschagne’s unbeaten 68. Smith remained not out at the end on 31.