Ravindra Jadeja picked up another five-wicket haul on Thursday, on the opening day of the first Test between India and Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023. After an ordinary morning session, Jadeja was forced to come back with different plans. The learning from the first session was that there was not much help off the track for the spinners. So, something different was to be done. Jadeja came up with a new plan. He was now going to come wide of the crease and bowl as close to the stumps as possible. That was to ensure that even if one odd ball turned away from the right-hander, he would be very close to getting a wicket. This was a period when Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were going well and had stitched a solid partnership for the third wicket.

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“I used the crease as not every delivery was turning. And, as I said, the bounce was low, so trying (I tried) to create doubts in the minds of the batters,” he explained. “I was going wide off the crease and coming close to the stumps and some deliveries if they stepped out and it turned, there would always be a chance. Luckily, he (Marnus Labuschagne) stepped out (and) that one (delivery) turned after pitching. And for (Steve) Smith, the ball went straight from that same spot from where I delivered the earlier (Marnus) delivery,” said the man, who is now three shy of 250 Test wickets.

“Yes, there was natural variation from the wicket, but I tried to mix up the angles, so that there was doubt in the batter’s mind,” he added.

On a track where turn was hard to find, Jadeja stuck with stump-to-stump line and maintained disciplined in line and length. He said that with Smith and Labuschagne finding it difficult to rotate strike, they begun to try different ways to score and it helped the bowlers. Labuschagne then stepped put, this ball turned away and he was stumped eventually by debutant KS Bharat. Some overs later, Jadeja pitched the ball on the same spot but this time the ball straightened and hit the top of off after breaching Smith’s defence. 

Jadeja said that he loved the momentum with which he bowled on Day 1 of the Nagpur Test. He was coming into the Test match after almost 6 months. He had a knee operation and then a long rehab period. The 34-year-old all-rounder said that it is never easy to make comebacks post injury. The rehabs are tough, he said, while adding that the self-doubt exists during long layoff period due to injury. But the all-rounder stuck to his strengths and delivered on just the first day of his comeback.

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