India pace bowler Mohammed Siraj credited his success on Thursday in the second ODI against Sri Lanka to KL Rahul's accurate reading of the Eden Gardens strip and conditions during the second ODI in Kolkata on Thursday. (More Cricket News)
Sri Lanka were bundled out for 215 in just 39.4 overs with Siraj and Kuldeep accounting for three wickets each as the visitors found the going tough on a batting track.
Siraj, who played a vital role in the opening ODI at Guwahati taking two wickets as Sri Lanka lost the opener by 67 runs, said during the innings break on Friday that Rahul noticed that the ball had stopped doing its bit after only the first over and that a new strategy would have to be employed against the experienced batting order.
And that was to bowl hard lengths.
"The ball wasn't coming out quick enough, and there wasn't enough swing. So the plan was to bowl stump to stump to keep the pressure from one end, hoping to get wickets and help the other bowlers," said Siraj, who had figures of 3/30 in 5.4 overs.
The ploy worked and it not just helped Siraj jolt Sri Lanka Avishka Fernando (20), but it created enough pressure on the visitors for Kuldeep Yadav to come later on and reap a rich harvest with his wrist spin.
"KL (Rahul) told me it stopped swinging after one over, so I switched over to hard lengths. It is a good batting wicket but Kuldeep bowled very well to cause a middle-order collapse," added Siraj.
Siraj added that with the outfield extremely pacey, batters can flourish provided they play the ball on it merit.
"The outfield is very quick so the message to the batters is just watch and play the ball," said Siraj.