December 17, 2018 / 12:44 PM / 8 months ago

Frontline spinner could have helped India, says Shami

PERTH (Reuters) - India would have been better served with a frontline spinner in their side, pace spearhead Mohammed Shami said on Monday following the potentially match-winning exploits of Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the second test in Perth.

India's Mohammed Shami (R) celebrates after dismissing Australia's Aaron Finch on day four of the second test match between Australia and India at Perth Stadium in Perth, Australia, December 17, 2018. AAP/Richard Wainwright/via REUTERS

In the absence of injured off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the touring side opted to go in with four quicks on the green-tinged pitch with all-rounder Hanuma Vihari being the only slow bowling option for India.

Lyon proved India’s main tormentor in the first innings with 5-67 and has already taken the wickets of captain Virat Kohli and opener Murali Vijay in the second to put Australia on course for a series-levelling win.

“The decision is taken by the team management and we can’t do anything about it,” Shami told reporters at the end of the fourth day’s play with his team still needing another 175 for a 2-0 series lead with just five second innings wickets remaining.

“We had a spinner in Hanuma Vihari and you can’t say he bowled badly. He bowled well. But I feel, probably we could have played a frontline spinner.”

India have left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav as the other slow bowling options in the squad. Vihari, playing only his second test, took 2-53 in the first innings but went wicketless in the second.

India were left to chase a target of 287 to win the second test after Shami’s spectacular spell of fast bowling saw Australia dismissed for 243 even after a wicketless first session on the fourth day.

Shami, 28, took career-best figures of 6-56 with some blistering short-pitched bowling as Australia lost five wickets for 15 runs.

“When there is a partnership we have to be patient, especially on a wicket on which we were constantly beating them. We were not bowling badly, we were maintaining good line and length,” he said.

“But the wickets were not coming. As soon as the first wicket fell, we got momentum and we carried that momentum forward.

“The wicket was normal for the first two days. But it has been a little up and down from the third day, there has been some uneven bounce. Some balls have kept low but it’s a typical Perth wicket.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ian Chadband

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