India’s nemesis Moeen Ali has been on a roll with the ball in the ongoing Test series with 11 wickets from two games, but the all-rounder turned to former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for assistance after the second day’s play in the fifth Test at the Oval on Saturday.
Unhappy with his failure to make use of the rough outside the batsman’s off-stump, Moeen wanted help from Harbhajan.
“Moeen felt that he wasn’t doing enough with the rough outside the off-stump and that’s why he asked me how to have a look at how he was going about his business,” Harbhajan told TOI on Sunday.
“I told him that he was doing just fine, just that he was trying a little too much to hit the rough. But this pitch, unlike Ageas Bowl, doesn’t have huge cracks, so it is more about bowling on a good pitch.”
Having played for Surrey at the Oval, Harbhajan said that the off-spinner needed to vary his pace in this game as compared to the Southampton Test.
“Sometimes, when the cracks are not that big, the outside edge comes as much into play as the inside edge. I told Moeen he wouldn’t get those inside-edge bat pads as easily as he was getting at Ageas Bowl. So all he needed to do was relax and go about his job,” he said.
Harbhajan was happy to see how the spinner bowled on the third day and said that things could get even better for the bowler in India’s second innings once the cracks get bigger. “It’s good to see that Moeen followed what I said. The cracks could get bigger in the second innings and then the dynamics may again change,” he added.