India pacer Mohammed Shami rues not bowling enough vs South Africa in 2nd innings
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India pacer Mohammed Shami rues not bowling enough vs South Africa in 2nd innings

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli pulled Mohammed Shami out from the attack when the pacer was troubling South Africa cricket team batsmen in the morning of Day 4 of the 2nd Test in Centurion. Meanwhile, Dean Elgar feels getting Kohli out cheaply was a massive moment for the hosts in the match

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2018 09:21 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Centurion
South Africa vs India,SA vs IND,Mohammed Shami
Indian cricket team bowler Mohammed Shami (centre) celebrates the dismissal of South Africa cricket team’s Quinton de Kock (not pictured) during the fourth day of the second Test at Supersport cricket ground in Centurion on Tuesday. (AFP)

Mohammed Shami took three vital South Africa wickets in the morning session to justify his spearhead tag on a day India needed him to be at his best. Shami ended with 4/49, his second best bowling effort away from home. But there is an unmistakable feeling that instead of going in for the kill with their most successful bowler, India suddenly took their foot off the pedal and started playing the waiting game. (SA vs IND, 2nd Test, Day 4 highlights)

Shami got the dangerous AB de Villiers with a peach of a delivery that reared form the good length area. The industrious Dean Elgar was finally undone by a short delivery from round the wicket. Quinton de Kock too was dismissed quickly but not without edges flying through the slip region in the three previous deliveries. (SA vs IND, 2nd Test, scorecard)

Shami was on a roll by then, hitting the good length and getting some shape on almost every delivery. But two overs after reducing South Africa to 163/5, he was inexplicably pulled out and not given a bowl for the next 29 overs. Identifying the phase when a bowler wants to bowl more is crucial to changing the course of a Test. Faf du Plessis recognised the same zeal in Vernon Philander and South won the Cape Town Test as a result. Shami indicated he wanted the same.

“There are some stages in front of you that you want to bowl more but the captain thinks that we should get them out quickly. So you cannot mind that but yes sometimes you do feel inside that maybe I could have got five wickets. But if you see from the team’s point of view, you will not feel like this,” said Shami after the day’s play.

“It depends on the captain when he wants to bowl you or any other bowler. It also depends on the conditions I suppose. Maybe I bowled before lunch so I couldn’t bowl immediately. So the captain might be thinking that we should bowl in rotation,” said Shami, adding that he wasn’t injured or tired when he was pulled out of the attack.

Adding 95 runs after Shami’s strikes may have strengthened South Africa’s cause but they know getting Virat Kohli was the key to stay in front in this Test. “It’s massive for us and I think it’s massive for India, knowing he is not batting. He’s a very special batsman as we saw in the first innings and we knew it was a massive moment to get him out. But we all knew it was possible because he is human and he can also fail. I am sitting here with a smile on my face knowing there is one less very competitive, very talented guy that we don’t have to deal with,” said Elgar after the match.

The conditions were the same for both the teams but Elgar felt the height of the South Africa pacers may have been the difference. “We are quite fortunate. We’ve got three quite tall fast bowlers that bowl 140-plus. I think that is working in our favour on a wicket that is becoming quite up and down,” he said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 09:12 IST