Indian spin maestro Ravindra Jadeja chose to keep the secret of his success against star batter Steve Smith closely guarded after his stellar performance helped India secure a six-wicket win over Australia in their World Cup 2023 opener on Sunday.
While Virat Kohli and KL Rahul shared a 165-run stand to help India recover from a horror start and chase down the 200-run target in 41.2 overs, Jadeja, with figures of 3/28 in his 10 overs, led the spin attack superbly. He was ably supported by Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed 2/34 in his 10 overs, and Kuldeep Yadav, who chipped in with 2/42 in his 10 overs.
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“No, no, I will not tell you. You will print it in English and they will understand. No, I won’t tell you this,” Jadeja, in his characteristic style, smiled and told reporters when he was asked about the secret behind his success against Steve Smith.
Jadeja, who has managed to dismiss Smith on no less than 10 occasions across different formats, outwitted his bunny with subtle variations before finally getting his prized scalp. Jadeja sent down a good-length ball, pitching right on the middle stump, before executing a sharp and vicious turn that left even the best batsmen perplexed.
Steve Smith, renowned for his batting prowess, could only watch in disappointment as the ball beat his edge and went on to disturb the off-stump. It was a moment that oozed brilliance, and the precision and guile in Jadeja’s delivery left everyone in attendance spellbound.
“When I started the first over, the ball was stopping after falling a little slow. I thought it was the afternoon, it was hot and the wicket was dry. I thought a stump-line would be better. From here some balls would turn, some would go straight so it won’t be easy for the batsman to line up,” Jadeja said when he was asked about Smith’s dismissal in the World Cup match.
“This was my plan that I should bowl at the stumps and luckily the ball to Smith turned a little more. So, my plan was simple I was thinking that this is a Test match bowling wicket. I shouldn’t experiment too much because everything was happening in the wicket. So, I was trying to bowl it stump to stump.
With Smith back in the pavilion, Jadeja continued his fiery spell. The next victim to succumb to his magic was Marnus Labuschagne, who was caught behind the wickets by the alert KL Rahul. Labuschagne attempted a sweep shot but failed to time it perfectly, resulting in a faint edge that led to his dismissal.
Just two balls later, Jadeja further compounded Australia’s woes by securing his third wicket of the day. He trapped Alex Carey in front of the stumps for a duck, leaving the Australian batting lineup reeling.