Boy to man: Former stars laud transformation of Siraj Down Under
Brisbane: Former Indian cricketers, including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, on Monday lavished rich praise on Mohammed Siraj after the right-arm fast bowler picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
On Monday, Siraj returned with figures of 5/73 in just his third Test as India bundled out Australia for 294 in their second innings in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Along with Siraj, Shardul Thakur also picked four wickets in Australia’s second essay with the bat.
India, then during their chase of 328, reached 4/0 before rain forced early stumps on Day Four of the match. They will need to score 324 more runs on Tuesday to win the match and clinch the four-match series.
“The boy has become a man on this tour. Siraj, leader of the attack in his first Test series and he has led from the front. The way newcomers have performed for India on this tour will be etched in memories for a long, long time. Will be fitting if they retain the trophy,” Sehwag said in a tweet.
Tendulkar also took to his Twitter handle to praise on both Siraj and Thakur and said: “Well done Mohammed Siraj on your first fifer and Shardul Thakur on your important all round performance which has kept the Test rather interesting so far and more importantly, the Test series alive.”
Earlier, Thakur — playing just his second Test — emerged as India’s unlikely hero with the bat as he scored 67 runs which helped the visitors post 336 in reply to Australia’s 369.
“Very proud of you, Siraj! Not easy to stay on in Australia after losing your father but I am sure your commitment and passion for the game would make him very proud. Congrats on your maiden five-wkt haul. Many more to come. Keep it up,” tweeted VVS Laxman.
Siraj has bowled 134.1 overs, the most by an Indian bowler in the current series which saw the entire frontline attack get benched due to injuries before the fourth and final Test even began. He has ended up being India’s highest wicket-taker in the series with 13 scalps.
The right-arm pacer, who made his Test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the Boxing Day Test, has had a very emotional tour. He lost his father a few days after he arrived in Australia but couldn’t return home to attend his burial due to strict quarantine rules that would have taken a lot of time.
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