Nagpur : Claiming a fifer on his return to Test cricket after a five-month injury break, Ravindra Jadeja said playing a Ranji Trophy match against top domestic side Tamil Nadu boosted his morale and helped him get back his rhythm for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 against Australia, here on Thursday.
Bowling a steady line and length and using the crease to his advantage, Jadeja claimed 5-47 to help India bundle out Australia for 177 just after tea on the opening day on a pitch that provided occasional spin and had low bounce.
The star India all-rounder said it felt good to get five wickets on returning from injury. “I loved the rhythm with which I bowled and the ball came out of my hand quite well, line and length was also accurate, since there is no bounce off the track, I preferred bowling stump to stump, on a low bounce track, there are more chances of leg before and bowled and luckily, I got a few leg befores and bowled, so that makes me happy,” Jadeja said at post-day press conference at the VCA Stadium at Jamtha here.
The left-arm spinner said playing the Ranji match against Tamil Nadu was a big help as the pitch in Chennai was similar and offered low bounce. “Big help, as you are playing against a top first class team with quality batters in its ranks.
TN had a good batting unit, so I was to play the Test match after that game and that preparation really helped me,” Jadeja said. “I wouldn’t say this is exactly like the Chennai track but quite similar to it in terms of low bounce.
So the thought process was aiming to bowl stump to stump,” he added. The seasoned campaigner from Saurashtra also highlighted that he used the crease on Thursday as the pitch was not offering enough spin.
“I used to crease as not every delivery was turning and as I said the bounce was low, so trying to create doubts in minds of the batters, I was going wide off the crease and coming close to the stumps and some deliveries if they stepped out and it turned, there would always be a chance, luckily he (Marnus) stepped out that one turned after pitching.
And for Smith, the ball went straight from that same wide of the crease,” said Jadeja, adding, “Yes, there was natural variation from the wicket but I tried to mix up the angles, so that there is doubt in the batter’s minds.”
The 34-year old spinner picked up the crucial wickets of Marnus Labuchagne and Steve Smith, which broke the back of Australia’s resistance as the duo had added 82 runs for the third wicket partnership.”They were searching for runs and it wasn’t easy to rotate strike and get runs off each ball.
Once you start bowling good areas every delivery, they would also start trying different things and they were busy batters and once they had a partnership, I thought, I should bowl as many dot balls as possible, consistently pitch wasn’t offering turn so, had to bowl good areas and maintain good line and length,” said Jadeja.