India vs Australia: Twin wins in bag, Pathan decodes India pacers

On Monday, Virat Kohli led India to its sixth win on Australian soil, second in Adelaide. And Irfan Pathan feels the Indian bowlers had a slight edge over Australian heavyweights Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in the first game of the India vs Australia Test series.

Mohammed Shami (left) is congratulated by captain Virat Kohli after dismissing Australia's Mitchell Starc in Adelaide on Monday.   -  AP

When India beat Australia in Adelaide in 2003, Irfan Pathan — a curly-haired teenager — had just walked into the side. Five years later, the left-arm pacer was ‘man of the match’ for an all-round performance in Perth — India’s last Test victory Down Under until this morning.

On Monday, Virat Kohli led India to its sixth win on Australian soil, second in Adelaide. And Pathan feels the Indian bowlers had a slight edge over Australian heavyweights Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

READ: We did not take anything for granted, says Virat Kohli

“If your seam position is right and you have a good control, then you can make a difference and these guys are like that. They are very exciting bowlers. They bowl good pace but at the same time, they are doing something with the ball. That’s the most important thing.  Nowadays, nobody is down on pace. You need to do something with the ball,” he told Sportstar.

“Starc might be consistently bowling quick, but the position of the seam was the difference, which Indian bowlers had.”

READ: Tim Paine speaks up on DRS pain

Pathan broke down the skill sets of the pacers — Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma — who dazzled with a Kookaburra in hand claiming 14 wickets in Adelaide.

“Bumrah bowls in-swingers and also tries to get the ball away from the right-hander. He has been trying to learn that. Ishant has experience. Now his seam position is so much better, his wrist is not falling. Shami always had a good seam position. You need to do something with the ball on the air and off the pitch as well,” said Pathan, who picked up 12 wickets in four Tests in Australia.

In 2008, Irfan Pathan was ‘man of the match’ for an all-round performance in Perth — India’s last Test victory Down Under until Monday morning. (File Photo)   -  V.V.S. Subrahmanyam

 

‘Victory is victory’

He dismissed the argument regarding Australia being a weaker side this time around. “Weak team or not, victory is victory. India touring Australia and winning a Test match in their own backyard. It was a well-fought Test match,” he said.

Being a sound middle-order batsman for a brief period in his career, Pathan highlighted how every member of the side has a role; irrespective of runs. “Openers should make it easier for the middle-order. When you play abroad, runs will come. If you are able to see the new ball off, take the shine off, it will benefit the team.

“I look at it this way. The batsmen may get out but you could see how the team benefits from each and every role. If you are playing big teams such as England and Australia regularly, seeing off the new ball is a big plus,” he added.

Pujara – the new Dravid

Pathan saw flashes of Rahul Dravid in Cheteshwar Pujara, who lifted India from the dump with a first innings hundred (123). He helped extend the lead with a fine fifty in the second.

“The way Pujara handled both the innings reminded me of Rahul bhai’s innings in Adelaide, from my debut game. This is happening after many years and it is fantastic,” Pathan said.

The seasoned campaigner also feels Rohit Sharma needs to be in the side for the remainder of the series. “The kind of batsman he is, free flowing, he should be there. He has been doing well in ODI cricket and this series should take him forward (in Tests).”