When New Zealand drafted Neil Wagner in the XI here, it was hoped he would trouble the India batsmen with reverse swing, as he is known to do on dry pitches.
Wagner did get reverse swing in the second innings but couldn’t make a mark and remained wicket-less. He got two wickets in the first innings, but not off reverse swing. The India batsmen, especially Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja negotiated Wagner’s reverse swing well and made things tough for the Black Caps.
When it came to the India bowlers, Mohd Shami worked magic with reverse swing, especially when it mattered.
After 20 overs on Monday, India tasted success when Jadeja claimed Luke Ronchi, who tried to hit against the turn from outside off stump and gave R Ashwin an easy catch at point.
India had to wait thereafter. It was Shami who broke through as he cleaned up Mark Craig with reverse swing --- the ball sneaking through bat and pad to send the off-stump flying. Bowling from wide of the crease, he kept the batsman in doubt.
Shami’s magic didn’t stop, and his second wicket opened the floodgates for Ashwin, who then ripped through the Kiwi innings with a six-wicket haul. Shami got one to swing back to catch BJ Watling, known for his defence, plumb in front.
“His (Shami’s) magic with reverse swing is natural as he was never allowed to bowl with the new ball during his early days in his village,” coach Barauddin told HT from Amroha, from where the bowler hails.
“He (Shami) used to bowl with the old ball in tournaments and even after a match used to rub it for further practice against young kids. He always wanted to be called a fast bowler. That’s why he used to get the old ball. It was disappointing initially, but he made the most of it,” he added.
The pavilion end of Green Park produced a record for India as the bowlers claimed all the wickets of the New Zealand second innings from this end.
The only run out of the match was when TV umpire AK Chaudhary declared Ross Taylor out off a direct throw from Umesh Yadav, with the batsman running to the pavilion end.
“There were some solid footmarks for the bowlers near the stumps at the media end and that’s the reason why Ashwin and Jadeja could spin the ball while bowling from the pavilion end,” said curator Shiv Kumar.