Adil Rashid is increasingly confident he can get the world’s best players out.
England’s leg-spinner, the revelation of their tour of India, was central to their recovery on day two of the third Test in Mohali – where the hosts needed determination down the order from all-rounders Ravi Ashwin (57no) and Ravindra Jadeja to reach 271-6 in reply to 283 all out.
Rashid (3-81) took two of the three wickets which fell for only eight runs straight after tea, breaking the stand between Virat Kohli (62) and Cheteshwar Pujara (51) and then seeing off Ajinkya Rahane lbw for a duck to a googly.
The telling skill in Pujara’s dismissal was not Rashid’s but that of Chris Woakes, with an outstanding catch after the India No 3 pulled a long-hop to the only man in the leg-side deep.
Rashid acknowledged that as he assessed his achievements as the series’ leading wicket-taker on either side, with 16 so far.
“Sometimes you get some luck as well,” said the 28-year-old Yorkshireman, who appears to have benefited substantially from the tutelage of England’s temporary spin consultant Saqlain Mushtaq over the past few weeks.
“I’ve obviously been working hard in the nets, on some technical things – working out batsmen, field placings.
“It’s also (about) being really confident, having that belief you can get the best players in the world out. Things sometimes go your way, sometimes they don’t. At the moment, it’s going very well so far.”
If Rashid is indeed a ‘confidence’ bowler, it surely cannot have harmed that both Saqlain and India captain Kohli have spoken of him in glowing terms in recent days?
“Not really,” he said.
“I don’t really look to get any praise from anybody... I just look to keep my head down and concentrate in practice.
“Obviously, I go out there and give it 100 per cent. If wickets come, they come; if they don’t, then no big deal.”
It was not Rashid but Ben Stokes who took the prize wicket of Kohli, caught-behind trying to guide some runs into a packed off-side field.
There must have been an element of extra personal satisfaction for Stokes, who had paid with an International Cricket Council reprimand and demerit point for his reaction the previous day in a verbal spat with Kohli after he was stumped off Jadeja.
Rashid said of Kohli’s mid-evening departure: “It was a big wicket – we all know he’s a class player.
“For Stokesy to get him as well – there’s been a bit of friction between them – it shows his class. He really runs in and gives 100 per cent and got his rewards there.
“We had certain plans to certain players, and looked to nail it. We knew we might not get our rewards straightaway, but if we stuck to them we might get them in the last session – and that’s what happened.”
Despite Ashwin and Jadeja’s unbroken partnership of 67, Rashid added: “We’d take 270-6 at the beginning of the day.
“I thought we bowled exceptionally well there as a team.
“Yes, they got a little partnership – but that happens in cricket.
“We hope we can come back tomorrow and knock ‘em over.”
Pujara, unsuprisingly, saw things differently.
“I’d say we’ve recovered really well,” he said. “We have an advantage, because both our all-rounders are in. Tomorrow the first session will be crucial for us... we’ll be looking to get a lead of somewhere around 75 to 100 runs.
“They can both bat, and so can Jayant Yadav. Our lower order has been contributing in all the Test matches, so we expect that to continue tomorrow.”
He and Kohli more than doubled India’s total in their earlier stand of 75, which was hard work at times as England tried to dry up the runs.
“I would say we weren’t struggling,” added Pujara.
“The lines they were bowling, I thought it was a little negative.”
He did admit, however, to some regret over his dismissal to Rashid. “Obviously I was disappointed with the way I got out,” he said. “It was a ball I probably could have hit for four, but I didn’t time it well.”
Tim Southee’s five-wicket haul gave New Zealand the advantage on a rain-affected third day of the second Test with Pakistan at Hamilton.
Southee, who took three wickets in the evening session on day two, added three more to finish with 6-80 as the tourists were bowled out for 216 – a first-innings deficit of 55 runs.
Pakistan were 51-5 before an unbeaten 90 by No 3 batsman Babar Azam.
Half-centuries from Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga helped Sri Lanka overcome a nervy start to their run-chase as they sealed a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the Tri-Nations Series final.