W . W W 4 W!— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) September 17, 2023
Is there any stopping @mdsirajofficial?!
The #TeamIndia bowlers are breathing
wickets in the over! A comeback on the cards for #SriLanka?
Tune-in to #AsiaCupOnStar, LIVE NOW on Star Sports Network#INDvSL #Cricket pic.twitter.com/Lr7jWYzUnR
After Jasprit Bumrah went boom in the first over of the Asia Cup final, it was over to Mohammed Siraj. Bang, bang, bang, bang he went in the fourth, ripping out the Sri Lankan top order. It was just the fourth instance of four wickets going to a bowler in an over in men's ODIs (when ball-by-ball data has been available). He wasn't done. He picked up two more to finish with 6 for 21 and shoot Sri Lanka out for 50. "Like a dream," he called it, and put it down to "keeping it simple" and "executing my line and length". And the batters kept falling.
"Last time, against Sri Lanka, in Trivandrum [Thiruvananthapuram], I had taken the first four wickets [three of the first four], but couldn't get the fifth," Siraj told Sanjay Manjrekar on the official broadcast between innings. "Then I realised that you only get what is in your destiny, not more, however hard you try. So the plan was to keep it simple and execute my line and length, and I kept getting wickets."
Pathum Nissanka fell first ball of that fourth over, driving an outswinger to Ravindra Jadeja at point. Two balls later, Sadeera Samarawickrama went, trapped in front to one that moved in after pitching outside off stump. Next ball, Charith Asalanka chipped a full ball around off stump to Ishan Kishan at cover. And though he denied Siraj the hat-trick, Dhananjaya de Silva was caught behind nicking the channel delivery off the last ball of the over.
Dasun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis were then both bowled by Siraj in his third and sixth overs respectively.
What did it for Siraj, looking at it from the outside, was the swing. Primarily away from the right-hand batters. And pace, of course. In overcast conditions.
"My only thing when I play white-ball cricket is that I would try to swing the new ball at the start. But here, there wasn't a lot of swing on offer in the initial matches. Today it swung, so I tried to make the batsman play as much as possible," he said. "It's nice when it catches the edge. I have not picked up a lot of wickets with my outswing - today I got a lot of wickets with my outswing, so that felt very good."
And a Test-match-ish length…
"Exactly, I was getting so much swing that I tried to make the batsmen drive, drag them forward and get their wickets," he said. "That was the plan. I didn't run after wickets, but the conditions did a lot of work for me. If you keep hitting the wickets with one line, you will keep getting wickets."