2nd Test: ‘Don’t need to worry too much’, Siraj optimistic about India’s chances despite top-order collapse

Despite India suffered a top-order collapse in a chase of 145 to end day three of second Test at 45/4 in 23 overs, pacer Mohammed Siraj feels that there isnt much to worry about, citing a well-set Axar Patel unbeaten on 26 and Rishabh Pant as well as Shreyas Iyer yet to come out to bat.

Bangladesh started their defense of 145 on day three with KL Rahul edging behind off captain Shakib Al Hasan in the third over. Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz took over to have Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill stumped, and followed it up with Virat Kohli giving a catch to short leg on forward defense.

“According to me, we shouldn’t be thinking too much as till now, four wickets have fallen and still 100 more are needed. We have one of our batters in Axar, who has shown positive intent and has played well till now. When one of the batters is set at the crease, then we don’t need to take too much pressure.”

“Two extra wickets had fallen today, but we don’t need to worry too much as Axar is well-set and is showing good intent. Then we have Rishabh and Shreyas still to bat, so there is not much to worry about,” stated Siraj in the post-match press conference.

Promoted to number four, Axar looked compact in his 26 not out, punching and pulling against spinners to pick three boundaries on a deteriorating pitch.

Asked about Axar being promoted in the batting, the pacer said it is the call of the management.

“According to me, if there is one left-handed batter alongside the right-handed batter, then it will be difficult for the bowlers to bowl. They will have difficulty in adjusting on bowling to a right-hander, then to a left-hander. I think it was the reason for taking that call,” said Siraj.

After going wicketless in the first innings at Dhaka, Siraj bounced back by picking two wickets for 41 runs in his 11 overs. While Mominul Haque was caught behind, Siraj got the better of Litton Das with a sharp in-ducker crashing into the stumps through the gate.

“Regarding my bowling, there was some extra bounce available for the fast bowlers. My endeavour was to hit as much on the hard lengths as possible with as much pace as possible to extract extra bounce. The plan was to hit those areas as much as possible and you all saw that I was able to get wickets,” he said of his bowling in the second innings.

Apart from errors in the field, with Kohli dropping three catches at slip, including him shelling chances of Das twice on 20 and 49, India were poor with their DRS reviews, losing all three of them within 37 overs.

“As a bowler, I feel that whenever the ball has hit the pad, it is out. But the importance of conversation between bowler, wicketkeeper increases when taking the review as where the impact is, the wicketkeeper sees it more. I thought that the ball was hitting the pad in front of stumps, so I convinced them to take the review, but it didn’t happen,” revealed Siraj on the process behind taking DRS calls.

Reprieves meant Das made a counter-attacking 73 and forged crucial partnerships of 46 with Nurul Hasan, who made 31 and 60 with Taskin Ahmed, who was unbeaten on 31, as Bangladesh made 231 in 70.2 overs in their second innings.

“When their keeper came out and started to attack a bit more, then Litton also began to attack and some of the momentum shifted towards them, adding 30 more runs. But there is not much to worry about,” he concluded.

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