Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne was impressed with debutant Mohammed Siraj's performance on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Siraj picked up figures of 2-40, including the wickets of Labuschagne and Cameron Green.
Siraj has been through a tough time recently, after his father passed away while the pacer was in Australia preparing for the Test series. However, the 26-year-old made the bold decision to stay back and represent his country.
One of India's premier Test bowlers, Mohammed Shami, was ruled out of the remainder of the Test series due to a fractured wrist. This led to Siraj making his Test debut and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
In a video conference after the end of the day's play, Marnus Labuschagne explained how Siraj was swinging the ball and making life difficult for the Aussies.
“He (Mohammed Siraj) is more of a swing bowler than a seam bowler. He is nearly six feet, swings away from lefties. He certainly has skills. We have to make sure we understand what they are trying to do and come back strong,” said the Aussie batsman.
We are learning what Ravichandran Ashwin is trying to do: Marnus Labuschagne
Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers, with figures of 4-56. However, another bowler who continued to give Australia's all sorts of trouble was Ravichandran Ashwin. The 34-year-old picked up figures of 3-35, including the prized scalp of Steve Smith for a duck.
Ashwin also had a good outing in the first innings of the first Test, where he bagged figures of 4-55. Marnus Labuschagne revealed the Aussies were trying to get a hang of Ashwin's variations. The batsman believes that as time progresses, the Aussies will play the off-spinner better.
“People are coming up with new ways like leg-side field, bowled straight. (We) are just understanding and learning what he (Ashwin) is doing. That is the key. We always do that as a batting group and keep better from learning,” Marnus Labuschagne said.
Although Team India have ended Day 1 strongly, they still trail by 159 runs. With young Shubman Gill well-set on 28*, the visitors will be hoping that he carries on and gets a big score. The Indian batting line-up as a whole will be determined to put up a better show after their humiliating collapse at the Adelaide Oval.Published 26 Dec 2020, 18:49 IST