Team India pacer Mohammed Siraj stated that his side decided to bowl only bouncers to Travis Head on Day 2 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final irrespective of the outcome of the plan.
Head, who was unbeaten on 146 on Day 1 of the WTC final, went on to score 163 off 174 balls before being dismissed by a short ball from Siraj on Day 2 on Thursday, June 8.
The Australian left-handed batter was uncomfortable against the rising ball on the opening day of the Test as well. However, cricket pundits questioned India’s delay in employing the short-ball tactic against the left-hander, by which time he was well set.
Speaking after the end of the second day’s play, Siraj opened up about India’s bowling plan to Head.
"We decided to bowl only bouncers to Head and if we get hit from there then so be it. We stuck to it and got success. We built pressure did not give too many runs that also helped. We used bouncers yesterday [Wednesday] as well but the chances went in the gap," he said.
"There were four-five chances off my bowling only. If we did not bowl well, Australia would have crossed 500,” Siraj added.
While praising Head for a brilliant knock, the right-arm pacer also conceded that India could have done better with the ball on Day 1 after winning the toss.
"There was sticky bounce yesterday [Wednesday] morning and seam movement. Thereafter, there was not enough swing from the six-meter length and batters were having it easy. Head batted extraordinarily as well. We could have bowled with better lines,” Siraj stated.
The 29-year-old added that there was pace and uneven bounce at The Oval on Day 2.
"There is more pace in the wicket and there is uneven bounce. We also bowled well but the way Head batted, he forced us to push our lengths back,” Siraj continued.
Siraj registered figures of 4/108 from 28.3 overs as Australia scored 469 runs in their first innings.
“It was nothing” - Siraj on throwing the ball at Steve Smith
During the media interaction, Siraj played down his antics of throwing the ball at the other Australian centurion Steve Smith in frustration.
Just after the latter crossed three figures, he pulled out of a delivery even as Siraj ran into bowl.
The Indian pacer was unhappy and threw the ball towards the stumps. When asked about the same, he replied:
"It was nothing. I was just enjoying. It is important to do that as it is a long day.”
India ended Day 2 of the WTC final at 151/5, trailing Australia by 318 runs.