Chasing a challenge of 365 runs for the hosts, West Indies are 76/2 at the end of the fourth day. On Sunday, veteran off-spinner Ashwin showed his mettle by picking up both wickets.
Conditions seem to favor the spinners and that could play more into Ashwin’s hands.
After India declared their innings at 181/2 and dismissed the dangerous West Indies skipper Craig Brathwaite and Kirk McKenzie, I feel Ashwin will run through the West Indies batting and turn the ball,” Siraj said at the end of the day.
Siraj revealed that India planned to adopt an aggressive batting approach in the second innings.
The Indian batsmen, especially Ishan Kishan, put in a T20 style performance with Kishan scoring an unbeaten 52 off 34 balls.
“Yes, Ishan is an aggressive batsman. Rishabh Pant is not there, so he (Ishan) can completely compensate for the loss of Ball as a wicket-keeper.
“He has the ability to hit the ball long and hard. He has the ability to hit it around the ground. We had enough runs on the board (first innings lead) so our plan was to score (runs in the second innings) in a very short time and then (after declaration), we can get more overs to bowl out West Indies.”
Siraj’s impressive performance in the first innings saw him take a five-wicket haul and play a crucial role in India’s dismissal of the West Indies for 255 in reply to the visitors’ total of 438.
Reflecting on his achievement, Siraj admitted that bowling relentlessly in such challenging conditions was no easy feat.
“I would rate my performance very high as it is not easy to take five wickets on a flat wicket. I had a plan, especially when the ball started to reverse swing, I executed my line and length perfectly.
“My plan was simple… Since the ball wasn’t doing much, I kept it stump-to-stump and made some seam (movement),” he added.
He added that bowling was not easy in the hot and humid conditions interrupted by occasional rain.
“When you’re throwing long spells in this heat and humidity, it’s not easy. Then the intermittent rain and getting hot again and again after each rain break was very challenging.”
Siraj expressed his pride in becoming the leading figure in the Indian pace bowling unit in a relatively short span of just two-and-a-half years.
With Jasprit Bumrah recovering from a back injury and Mohammad Shami being rested for the West Indies series, the onus to deliver fell on Siraj’s shoulders. Despite the pressure, the 29-year-old fast bowler rose to the occasion and did not disappoint.
“Honestly, when I get a responsibility, I feel very happy when there is no (senior) person… I like to take challenges,” Siraj said.
Siraj also congratulated debutant pacer Mukesh Kumar for his excellent performance in the match. Despite being his first game at this level, Mukesh bowled 23 overs and took two wickets. According to Siraj, the 29-year-old bowler showed great adaptability on the flat track as he had extensive experience of bowling on respectable wickets in domestic cricket. Cricket.
“Mukesh is not a new player. He plays Ranji Trophy regularly and bowls on difficult wickets. Taking wickets in Ranji Trophy is not easy, the wickets (pitches) are flat here. Port of Spain.
“It’s a big achievement to perform in domestic cricket and then to come here and control your nerves is not easy. He is playing his first match for India, that too a Test, he bowls long spells,” Siraj added.
(with agency inputs)