Ali, who has trapped Indian batsmen in his spin trap in the ongoing five-Test series, sought former offspinner turned umpire Dharmasena for advice after the first Test. The Sri Lankan's tips during a 'net' session worked for him, Ali has said now. Dharmasena stood in the opening two Tests at Nottingham and Lord's.
The 27-year-old Ali, who has taken 19 wickets (second highest in the series) in four Tests of the rubber, also thanked his team-mate Ian Bell for helping in his bowling.
"After the first Test at Trent Bridge (drawn), where I went for quite a few runs, I sat down and analysed it and felt the need for change.
"Belly (Ian Bell) took me to one side and said 'Look, this is what you've got to do to be consistent in the Test side - this is what Swanny (Graeme Swann) did, bowl quicker and straighter, especially on a first-day pitch," Ali was quoted as saying by "AFP" news agency on Thursday, ahead of the fifth and final Test at The Oval.
"Then I went into the nets and the umpire Kumar Dharmasena was there, and I asked him 'as a former off-spinner, how can I bowl quicker without it being flat?'
"He said to me 'just grab your pocket as quickly as you can with your non-bowling arm'. As soon as I bowled one ball I knew it would work," he said.
"That, for some reason, allows me to bowl quicker and straighter without being flat," he added.
England head into the final Test starting tomorrow (August 15) with a 2-1 lead.