Dinesh Karthik Feels India May Play An Extra Pacer Mohammed Siraj In The 2nd Test As Pink Ball Tests Aids Pacers

Dinesh Karthik, Indian wicketkeeper-batter believes fast bowler Mohammed Siraj will make it into India’s playing XI for the pink ball Test against Sri Lanka. The match begins on Saturday, March 12, and will be held at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

The 36-year-old feels the hosts will play an extra seamer as the pink ball has historically aided fast bowling. Hence, off-spinner Jayant Yadav would ideally be replaced by Mohammed Siraj, according to Dinesh Karthik. Jayant Yadav bowled a total of 17 wicket-less overs across two innings in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka.

Jayant Yadav | BCCI

Dinesh Karthik: It Will Be A Toss-up Between Jayant Yadav, Mohammed Siraj And Axar Patel

Previewing the second Test, Dinesh Karthik also didn’t rule out the possibility of all-rounder Axar Patel making it into the XI. Axar Patel could serve as a third spinning option in case the pitch provides a lot of help for the spinners.

He opined: “I think it will be a straight swap for me. I think Mohammed Siraj will play in the XI if there is any inclination of it having something for the fast bowlers. Axar Patel is a straight swap with Jayant Yadav if it’s going to be a flat wicket. So I think it will be a toss-up between Jayant, Siraj, and Axar.”

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

Axar Patel made his Test debut against England at home in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He has played only 5 Tests but has already picked up 36 scalps averaging an impressive 11.86. He has already picked 5 five-wicket hauls.

The left-arm spinner, who has recovered from a shin injury and a bout of Covid-19, has replaced Kuldeep Yadav in the Indian squad for the 2nd Test. Kuldeep Yadav did not feature in the first Test, with India preferring Jayant Yadav as their third spinner. Jayant Yadav went wicketless in both innings, while his spin partners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja dominated the match with a combined 15 wickets.

Dinesh Karthik Hopes Bangalore Pitch Will Aid Pacers

India’s first pink-ball Test at home against Bangladesh paid testament to the fact that the pink ball offers help to the pacers if there is grass on the pitch, even in Indian conditions.

On this, Karthik stated: “For a start, I feel there will be a lot in it for the fast bowlers as we have seen around the world. Even in India, we saw when they left a bit of grass it does a lot. So I do think in Bangalore, there will be a lot in it for the medium pacers if they decide to keep a bit of grass on.”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Indian spinners dominated the first Test in Mohali and Dinesh Karthik is hopeful that the fast bowlers will do the same in the pink-ball Test.

He added: “The fact that India haven’t played for a long time in Bangalore, I do think it will be an interesting game. I do hope that since there was a lot of spin in Mohali, I would like to see our fast bowlers come into the game a lot more. I just hope Sri Lanka compete so that the Test goes the distance.”

India have played two pink-ball Tests at home so far and have recorded thumping wins in both matches. They will be keen to continue their dominance at home and seal the series with a 2-0 score-line to improve their chances of making the World Test Championship final.

The fact that the Bengaluru match is a day-night Test involving the pink SG ball will strengthen Axar Patel’s case for selection as in India’s last day-night Test in Ahmedabad last year, he picked up match figures of 11 for 70 to help blow England away in just two days and pick up the Player-of-the-Match award.

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