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‘Rare talent’ Mohammed Siraj has gone from strength to strength: Rohit Sharma

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Last updated on 15 Jan 2023 | 03:33 PM
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‘Rare talent’ Mohammed Siraj has gone from strength to strength: Rohit Sharma

For the third game running Siraj provided the first breakthrough but unlike the first two ODIs, the 28-year-old carried on and ripped through the entire Lankan batting order

Mohammed Siraj entered the third ODI at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram having taken six more powerplay wickets than any other bowler in the world since the start of 2022 and on Sunday, the red-hot speedster added four more to his tally to help India bowl Sri Lanka out for 73, complete a 3-0 clean-sweep and register the biggest margin of victory in ODI history.

In each of the first two ODIs, Siraj, taking the new-ball alongside Mohammed Shami, caused plenty of pain for the Sri Lankan top-order and the trend continued in the third game. For the third game running Siraj provided the first breakthrough but unlike the first two ODIs, the 28-year-old carried on and ripped through the entire Lankan batting order. 

After dismissing Avishka Fernando for 1, Siraj removed both Kusal Mendis and Nuwanindu Fernando and registered his first four-fer in ODIs by castling Wanindu Hasaranga. His contribution extended beyond wickets, however, as he also inflicted a smart run-out to send Chamika Karunaratne back to the pavilion.

On a surface that offered plenty of inconsistent bounce, Siraj kept hitting the target consistently and his relentlessness bulldozed the Lankans, who folded to their lowest ever ODI score against India.

At the post match presentation, skipper Rohit Sharma was full of praise for Siraj, who he labeled a ‘rare talent’.

“Good to see how he (Siraj) was bowling and he deserved all those slips. He is a rare talent, the way he has come up over the last few years is good to see. He has come from strength to strength and that's really good for Indian cricket,” Rohit said.

“We tried all sort of things (to get his fifer) but it didn't happen unfortunately. But the four wickets are all his and fifers will come. He has a few tricks up his sleeves which he is working on and it's there to see.”

India entered the three-match series on the back of a scathing series-defeat at the hands of Bangladesh but against the Lankans, the Men in Blue pretty much ticked every box. From Gill scoring runs at the top to Kohli getting back amongst the tons to Kuldeep rediscovering his form, the series pretty much turned out to be a perfect one for the hosts.

A pleased Rohit admitted that, for his side, everything went according to plan.

“It was a great series for us. Lots of positives. We bowled well, got wickets when we needed and the batters throughout the series piling on the runs was good to watch.”

On Sunday India completed just their second ODI whitewash under Rohit Sharma’s full-time captaincy but there is no time to relax for the Men in Blue, who in three days time will lock-horns with New Zealand in a three-match ODI series.

The Kiwis will be without incumbent skipper Kane Williamson, but Rohit asserted that coming up against the BlackCaps, who will be entering the series on the back of a famous win in Pakistan, will by no means be an easy task.

“We'll get to the drawing board quickly (for the next series) and see how the pitch is, then decide how the combinations will be. They (NZ) are coming off a series win in Pakistan, so it won't be an easy task at all.”

The first of the three ODIs against New Zealand will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday, January 18.

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