On Friday, there was negligible assistance for the spinners on a slow surface at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Yet, he managed to take four wickets for 62 runs in 18 overs while getting excellent support from Jasprit Bumrah as Australia lost their last eight wickets for just 132 runs. With R Ashwin not managing to get a lot of purchase from this pitch, Jadeja’s scalps were priceless as it ensured that India did not have to toil all day in the field.
“The wicket was a bit slow. So it was very important to bowl on one side of the wicket. Otherwise, runs can flow easily. I just wanted to create pressure from my end because you weren’t going to get wicket-taking chances in every over. You also have to keep mixing up the pace and create angles,” Jadeja revealed, explaining his bowling approach.
It was his run-out of Steve Smith with a direct hit from the outfield that brought him the most satisfaction though. “I will rewind and play the run-out of Smith more than the four wickets. The run-out was very special. I will count it as my best fielding effort. Taking four wickets outside India is nice, but I liked the run out more,” he said, while addressing the media, with a huge grin.
Jadeja’s influence is far from over in this contest. On Saturday, he will come out to bat at No. 7 and hope to score some runs as India look to take a first-innings lead. While he is enjoying the extra responsibility of people expecting runs from his blade, it also gives the Indian team the luxury of playing Jadeja in the top-7 irrespective of the conditions without compromising on their plans of playing five specialist bowlers.
“When I bat higher up, I bat with more responsibility. And when a batsman is batting alongside, you get confidence from talking to him about what’s happening. It also gives me time to settle down. Whenever I play any format, my role is to perform with bat and ball. That’s how I have always thought about my game. Now that I am scoring runs in Tests outside India, my all-round ability is more apparent,” Jadeja noted.