Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj added a feather to his recently-handed Test cap as he became the first bowler in 16 years to take five wickets on Test debut on Australian soil. He achieved the feat on Tuesday during the Boxing Day game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Siraj, who was handed Test cap no. 298 by veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the entire Border-Gavaskar series with an arm injury, picked the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green in the first innings finishing with figures of 2 for 40.
In the second innings, he dismissed Travis Head for 17 on Monday before returning on day 4 to get the wickets of Green and Nathan Lyon. With five wickets at the MCG, Siraj became the first bowler since 2004 to achieve the tally on debut in Australia. Overall, he is the fourth visiting bowler in the last 50 years to achieve the feat – Phil DeFreitas (5-94 in the match, 1986-87), Alex Tudor (5-108, 1998-99), and Lasith Malinga (6-92, 2004).
Siraj lost his father Mohammed Ghaus in November while he was in Australia and couldn’t return home owing to COVID-19 restrictions. But his brother Ismail feels that Siraj fulfilled his father’s dream when he was handed the Test cap at the MCG.
“It was my (late) father’s dream that Siraj should represent India in Tests … he always wanted to see him (Siraj) in blue and white jersey to represent the nation, so our dream got fulfilled today,” Ismail had told PTI from Hyderabad.
Talking about the game, Australia, despite the nerviness against the Indian attack, have shown patience and caution in taking their second innings score to 200 and hence set a target of 70 runs for India.