India vs South Africa: Mohammed Shami impact - Stunning spell puts him above Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins
The pitch at Visakhapatnam was not very easy to bat on. Yes, it was not spitting around for the spinners, but the bounce was variable and the conditions, which were dry, also assisted the fast-bowlers in generating reverse swing. As such, these were just the perfect conditions for Mohammed Shami to step and enhance his already growing reputation in the second innings of a Test match. He hit the stumps on four occasions to bag his first four wickets and then nicked off Kagiso Rabada to complete a 5-wicket haul. With this feat, he became the only bowler to have 3 or more five-wicket hauls since 2018, a number which underlines his effectiveness in the second innings of a Test match.
Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins have both picked up two 5-wicket hauls since 2018 and this makes Shami, the most lethal in conditions where ther is assistance to extract reverse swing.
In 15 innings since January 2018, Shami has picked up 40 wickets in 214.2 overs at an average of 17.70 and with a strike rate of 32.1.
Speaking at the end of the match, the fast-bowler revealed that they had planned on bowling in straight lines and targeting the stumps.
“We had the plans to attack the stumps between the two fast bowlers. We have been supporting each other well for the last 4-5 years. In the second innings, the variable bounce and reverse would be beneficial for us. It was visible that the batsman’s discomfort zone was that stump-line and you can see the result. It was of utmost importance for us to remove the first 4-5 batsmen as soon as possible,” Shami said.
Indian captain Virat Kohli too hailed the effort of his fast bowlers and spoke about their attitude of being relentless even in conditions which did not have too much to offer.
“It’s all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn’t justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100%. That’s when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Jasprit and Umesh as well doing well. It’s all about wanting to make a play for the team even in conditions that are difficult,” Kohli said after the match.