Hanuma Vihari may have done a decent job as a part-time spinner in the second Test against Australia but Mohammed Shami on Monday admitted that India should have gone with a frontline spinner in Perth.
India went in with a four-pronged pace attack and used Vihari’s part-time spin. The middle-order batsman ended up picking two wickets in the first innings.
Although it was the team management’s decision to go with four pacers, Shami thinks a frontline spinner would have worked better.
“We had Hanuma Vihari and he bowled well here,” he said. “I personally think we should have had a frontline spinner but it is the team management which decides that.”
India ended day four at 112/5, still needing 175 more runs to win the second Test on the final day. Chasing 287, India lost five wickets early after bowling out Australia for 243 in second session of the day.
Earlier, Shami took his career-best figures of 6/56 to keep Australia below 250. He later revealed that he was just looking to bowl a good line and length throughout the day.
“It’s on your luck how many wickets you get,” he said. “If you are playing a Test then you should focus on your line and length, and you will automatically get wickets.
“I wasn’t much experienced four years back but this time the batch is experienced and there is a difference in the line and length from last time.”
India struggled to pick wickets in the first session on Monday as Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine added 58 runs from 30 overs to take Australia’s lead past 200.
Shami said that the pitch was behaving like a typical Perth surface and India, despite good bowling, had to wait for the wickets.
“When a partnership is going strong, you have to wait for a wicket,” he said. “We were hitting the lengths and once we got one wicket, the momentum shifted and we carried it forward.
“There has been uneven bounce. It was expected that it will have something from the third and fourth day, which has happened.”
The day also saw more sledging between Paine and India skipper Virat Kohli but Shami played that down saying it was part of the game and nothing should be taken seriously.
“I think sledging should be there,” Shami said. “The match is very long and if there is one moment when you sledge and get a reply, so it turns heated. Maybe the batsmen gets angry and commits a mistake.”
India need to bat out of their skins to save or win the Test match on day five and stop Australia from levelling the series 1-1 in Perth.
Shami said that the wicket is uneven and the batsmen should be patient.
“On fourth day you see uneven bounce which can create a doubt in the batsman’s mind. But that is always the case in Perth. Win or loss doesn’t matter. So just look forward [to tomorrow],” he said.