Pacer Mohammed Shami defends India's weak bowling attack and stresses it's tough to bowl on a flat pitch
Sydney: He managed to notch up a five-wicket haul but Indian medium pacer Mohammad Shami yesterday said it was tough to bowl on the flat deck here and his team's bowlers should not be criticised for conceding 572 runs to Australia in the ongoing fourth and final Test.
Mohammad Shami celebrates the wicket of Shaun Marsh in Sydney yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Shami managed figures of 5-112 in the Australian first innings, which closed at 572-7 after which Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul helped India reach 71-1 at close of play.
"It's tough for fast bowlers to bowl on a flat pitch. It is important to maintain your line and length. When it becomes easier for batsmen to play shots, it becomes tough for us," said Shami.
"It's not correct to say that we are struggling. If they are scoring 450-plus runs we too are scoring 400-plus runs. There isn't much difference. All I can say is hard luck.
"Australian bowlers are bowling in their home grounds, so they are used to the conditions here and are aware of what line and length they should be bowling. We tried the same thing but they batted well. So it's all part of the game, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't," he added.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar played his first Test of the series after recovering from an ankle injury but returned figures of 0-122, looking down on pace for most part of the first two days. Shami, however, denied that his teammate was not match fit.
'Bhuvi relies on swing'
"The team is decided based on fitness only. You may have noticed he doesn't have that sort of pace in the first place. He is a line and length bowler and relies on swing. It is such a slow wicket, and if you judge him on his pace then it's not fair to question his fitness," he said.
When asked if non-stop cricket left players with sufficient time for recovery, Shami replied, "You have seen how many matches are happening these days. We don't have the time to think about it. Whichever format we play, we start working on our bowling accordingly and it doesn't matter whether it's the red or white ball."
India still trail by 501 runs but Rohit Sharma (40) and KL Rahul (31) held steady at the crease, especially the latter, as he appeared calmer than the two poor shots he played in his debut Test at the MCG.
Mohammad Shami becomes the fifth Indian bowler to take five or more wickets at SCG after Kapil Dev, Karsan Ghavri, Anil Kumble and Shivlal Yadav