"As bowlers, we had to just keep patience. Bairstow is in form and he has been continuously playing attacking batting since the New Zealand series. So we were aware his confidence was high," said Siraj
Mohammed Siraj celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Sam Billings during play on Day 3 of the fifth cricket Test match between England and India. Pic/ AFP
India pacer Mohammed Siraj says it is imperative for a bowler to have patience when a batter goes hammer and tongs, like Jonny Bairstow did during England's first innings on the third day of the ongoing rescheduled fifth Test here.
Bairstow (106 off 140 balls) blazed his way to a century on Sunday, his third in successive Tests this summer, to help England post 284 in their first innings in reply to India's 416.
Attack was the best defence for Bairstow in the later part of his innings as he hit 14 boundaries and two sixes during his entertaining knock. But, Siraj (4/66), leading wicket-taker in the match so far for the visitors, said the Indian bowlers were unruffled by Bairstow's onslaught.
"As bowlers, we had to just keep patience. Bairstow is in form and he has been continuously playing attacking batting since the New Zealand series. So we were aware his confidence was high," Siraj said after the third day's play on Sunday.
"Our plan was simple, stick to our basics. We just kept believing in our ability, no matter what he did, it was a matter of one ball - be it an inswinger or seaming in off the pitch.
"In England, it is common to beat a batter multiple times, you just need to be patient and concentrate on your process," he added.
Siraj said the Indian bowlers did their homework and had a fair bit of idea about English batters' weak points.
"When we saw the New Zealand series, we realised that our every bowler is 140-plus and they (New Zealand bowlers) didn't have that," Siraj said.
"We had that ability and we also had played against England last year. So that was our plus point, as were aware of their weak points and that is why we got the success.
India were 125 for three in their second innings, taking an overall lead of 257 so far. And Siraj feels it would be difficult for English batters to chase down anything above 350 in the second innings at Edgbaston.
"In the first innings, the pitch was helpful to begin with, but after that it became flatter subsequently. So our only plan was to hit consistently in one area. If we took it easy, then we would end up leaking runs," he said.
"The ball also kept low. So it will be beneficial for us in the second innings."
At stumps on day three, Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 50 in the company of Rishabh Pant (30 batting).
"He (Pujara) is a warrior. In Australia, he did it and here also, he is doing the job. Whenever the team requires, he always stands up. When the tough situation arises, he is always there to do the job.
"Exactly, bowling to him is difficult, he does not attack much and just keeps on leaving balls so that can get irritating in the nets," Siraj said.
Talking about stand-in skipper Jasprit Bumrah, the pacer from Hyderabad said: "As a player and as a captain, he has been the same. He is always supportive and is always there to help me out. "Whenever I do wrong, he tries to make me understand what to bowl in certain situations."
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