“It is frustrating to be away from cricket for five months, and I was waiting eagerly to get fit and play for India,” Ravindra Jadeja had said following his comeback in the Ranji Trophy or Saurashtra against Tamil Nadu, in the game where he proved his fitness by picking up a 7-wicket haul, and his readiness for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.
Ravindra Jadeja said he “hadn’t felt the sun for about five months” following his knee injury in August which required him to undergo surgery and then began the lengthy, “tough” and “frustrating” process of rehab.
“When I went to the ground on the first day, it felt weird. I hadn’t felt the sun for about five months because I was training indoors and in the gym. I wondered if my body would sustain 90 overs out in the sun on the first day,” he said.
His first day back in the national team, Ravindra Jadeja proved why he’s India’s marquee all-rounder, and he shone brightly in the sun as the left-armer registered a five-wicket haul – his 11th in Tests and 4th vs Australia – in the first match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023, helping India bowl the visitors out for 177.
Ravindra Jadeja’s setup of Labuschagne and Smith stood out in his five-for
It was the terrific setup of Australia’s two best batters, and the top two ranked ICC Test batsmen – Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith – that made this five-wicket haul so special. As expected Smith and Labuschagne were tasked with another carry job following the early dismissals of Khawaja and Warner for 2/2.
The pair, grinding and fighting and even counter-attacking, forged a stand of 82 runs in 201 balls before Jadeja broke it open with Labuschagne’s wicket. Out stumped, as the batter fell in the lull of the forward defence to a delivery well outside the off-stump and missed it.
Before that, Jadeja had been pushing Labuschagne on the back foot all day long with quick and length deliveries before dragging the batsman forward – along with his backfoot – with a tossed-up ball that spun significantly and beat his outside edge. KS Bharat, on debut, did the rest.
Steve Smith was beaten on the inside edge, the ball sneaking into the bat-pad gap and rattling the timber.
The setup of Smith from Jadeja was a classical finger spinner’s setup.
Before castling Smith, Jadeja bowled 4 balls to Smith in the over, three of which turned away from the batter and one turned (seamed) to straight.
The balls turning away from Smith planted the dismissal which was about to come via a delivery that held its line and went on with the angle. The arm ball did it for Smith yet again; of all the delivery types, Smith has been most vulnerable to the arm ball, and Jadeja used this to the best effect to dismiss an all-time great.
This five-for will perhaps be a bit sweeter for Ravindra Jadeja than usual. For, not only it included the wickets of two of the world’s best batters, but it came after he’d been away from the game for five months. In the heat of Nagpur, as the peak summer still weeks away, Jadeja reveled in the sun after a while.