Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was rather upset when India’s performance was cut short by English spinner Moeen Ali. Ali has never really been taken seriously as a spinner by the English team’s management, which is why skipper Joe Root chose Adil Rashid over him for the first 3 Tests.
Former English player Graeme Swann too believed that Ali had lost the confidence to take wickets in Tests. It was really at Southampton that Ali truly worked his magic with his second consecutive five-wicket haul against India at this Venue.
Bhajji was not expecting the Indian players to give away their wickets so easily, he told Times of India, while also appreciating Ali for bowling rough outside the off-stump, which was largely helped by Ishant Sharma’s footmarks. According to Bhajji, Ali varied the pace really well and kept the batsmen playing at all times.
Moeen was picked for this match as more of a batsman than a bowler but he surprised everyone with his stellar performance with the ball, of 5/63. Bhajji was particularly disappointed by the dismissals of R. Ashwin and Hardik Pandya, who he believes are way too good to lose their wickets to any off-spinner, not just Moeen.
They got out on really poor shots and believed that the players themselves would have been disappointed by their dismissals. It was Pujara with his strong 132 not out, who was able to weather the storm that Moeen brought on, and give India a marginal lead.