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Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav put India on fast forward to Sri Lanka series sweep

Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli praised the superb bowling performances by Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav after their series win over Sri Lanka.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 14, 2017 23:29 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Pallekele
India vs Sri Lanka,Mohammed Shami,Umesh Yadav
Mohammed Shami (R) celebrates after he dismissed Sri Lankan cricketer Kusal Mendis during the third day of the third and final Test match between Sri Lanka and India.(AFP)

There are few sights better than a fast bowler in full flow. Pallekele woke up to overcast conditions and as most pace bowlers do, Mohammed Shami relished the conditions, treating everyone to a show of quality fast bowling in the third Test on Monday. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Some of the Sri Lankan batsmen were out of their depth facing the Indian pacer and skipper Dinesh Chandimal acknowledged it was a difficult spell to face. (SCORECARD)

“The first spell by Shami and Umesh was brilliant. At one point we felt as if we were playing in England. They bowled so well, making the most of the conditions,” said Chandimal.

In good rhythm through the match, Mohammed Shami worked up a good pace, pitched at three-quarter length and kept it tight around the off-stump with excellent seam position. And figures of 15-6-32-3 were a just reward for the effort.

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India skipper Virat Kohli was all praise. “I certainly rate him in the world’s top three (pacers) for sure because of his wicket-taking ability and the kind of impact he has on the games. When he makes up his mind to come out and give it his 120 % he can bowl like this – 145, 140 clicks on a regular basis, troubling the batsmen.

“He has all the ingredients of becoming a consistent world-class bowler, provided fitness can be maintained. Hopefully, he is not hampered with any more injuries. He is a very valuable bowler for us, and when he is on song, it’s delightful to watch. We all really enjoy standing on the field and watch him bowl like that.”

India's Umesh Yadav celebrates with his teammate Lokesh Rahul after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga. (REUTERS)

For his first scalp, Shami’s fuller delivery was too good for nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara and the thick outside edge was gobbled up by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. He followed it up with the wicket of rising star Kusal Mendis before returning to get tail-ender Lakshan Sandakan.

While India’s spin attack is the most potent in the world, with R Ashwin taking four wickets in the second innings, people are raving about India’s pace attack with Umesh Yadav proving an ideal foil for Mohammed Shami. Yadav made up for his lack of success in the first innings with 2/21 in 13 overs.

Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranataunga has said it is the pace attack that has made the difference for the Indian team.

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After completing India’s first clean sweep of an away series, captain Virat Kohli acknowledged the contribution of the pace bowlers. “Actually, breakthrough from the fast bowlers in the last home season as well was the key for us. That depth has really helped us capitalise on more situations in favour of the team, ending up winning Test matches and series. That you can say has been the defining factor,” said Kohli.

“It’s great to see both of them still bowling with a lot of heart, putting in that effort.”

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 19:06 IST