It was his first Test in India and third Test overall. Coming in for flak for poor bowling on Sunday, the 30-year-old left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty was in the thick of action on Monday. He took two catches to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and more importantly, he had three in the wickets column.
After bowling 42 overs, Doherty captured his first wicket by having R Ashwin caught at gully and then the next two were Harbhajan Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
In fact, when Pujara and Murali Vijay batted on Sunday, Doherty felt he would never get a wicket. “It was starting to look that way. Particularly with that close lbw (against Pujara) which I thought was good. Things just didn’t seem to be going my way. I was trying to work out my Test bowling average there at one stage because I came into the game at a hundred (3 wkts at 102.00 in two matches),” Doherty said.
“In the last five or six overs, it was just more pleasing how the ball started to come out. It took a while to get a bit of rhythm. To get a couple of wickets was nice as well,” said a relieved Doherty.
On whether footmarks will help spinners
The rough for me really wasn’t in play at all. The little plates along the wicket, if you hit mid-plate you get a bit more out of the odd ball. When Pujara and Vijay were going, it didn’t seem like anything was really happening. But once we started to get into the middle order, the ball started doing something which was really heartening.
On whether he will play in the third Test
I’m not even thinking about the third Test at this stage. We’ve a couple of days to think about it. But Nathan (Lyon) is a quality bowler and he’s shown that over the last 18 months. I’ve got no doubt that he’ll play again, whether it’s the next Test or whether it’s the Ashes or whatever it will be, he will be back in the team.
On the difficulty of bowling to Indian batsmen
They’re very good players of spin. We knew it was going to be tough but it’s just about grinding away. They weren’t just going to walk off. You’ve got to keep going and really try to apply some pressure and move your field and just try little things, which is what we did. Maxi (Maxwell) got that breakthrough and after that it got a little bit easier.
On Indian spinners
The two Indian spin bowlers were very much disciplined on Saturday and again in the last session on Monday. That’s how we’ve got to be. Yesterday their batsmen absorbed all the pressure we threw at them and scored their runs later in the day. If we do that on Tuesday it is game on, but there is a lot of hard work to be done and we are aware of that.
On MacGill’s criticism
The good thing about being here is you avoid all that. I am aware there are people who want me in the team and people who don’t want me but that is the nature of game at this level.