IND vs SA: Mohammad Shami's simply superb, feels Rohit Sharma
Speedster Mohammed's fifer helps India beat SA by 203 runs in first Test; man of the match & double centurion Rohit Sharma hails 2nd innings hero
Visakhapatnam: There's a reason why he is called second innings Shami. Four of Mohammed Shami's five five-wicket hauls have come in the third or fourth innings of a Test match, where his average is nearly five runs less than his career average and his strike-rate is significantly superior too.
Second innings Shami made his presence felt at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium yesterday, bowling India to a comprehensive 203-run rout of South Africa in the first Test with searing bursts of speed and reverse-swing. Almost sleep-walking through the first innings when he finished with none for 47 and his pace sometimes dipped under 130 kmph, Shami was back at his fiery best.
Cracks make it tough
Apart from reverse from an abrasive surface, his ally was the cracks that dotted the Day Five track. Knocking poles over with stunning regularity, Shami finished with 5-35, just reward for bending his back and applying relentless pressure on a shell-shocked South African batting unit.
"We have seen him in these conditions not just today, but earlier also," said Rohit Sharma, the man of the match for his twin centuries, who then dived back in time. "I still remember our debut together in Kolkata [against West Indies in November 2013] where the pitch was not exactly like this but on Days Four and Five, was slightly lower and slower.
"He knows how to bowl on those pitches," added Rohit, mindful that Shami finished with match-figures of 9-118 six years back, when again Rohit was the man of the match for his magnificent 177.
The reverse swing factor
"He gets reverse swing straight into play once he knows there is some help on offer. It is not easy to bowl when reverse is happening. You need to pitch in the right area, need to make sure the ball is just around the off-stump and it comes and hit the middle stumps. He has mastered that art now, bowling with the old ball and getting it to reverse."
Of his own dream initiation as a Test opener — Rohit followed up his first-innings 176 with a flowing 127 in the second — he remarked, "It's a great start and I have long way to go. Good things are about to follow. All those things [twin hundreds, the most sixes by an Indian in a Test] are nice to happen along the way but I have said many times that I am not here for records. I just want to enjoy the game."
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