While all the focus was on skipper Virat Kohli and ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami quietly found a way to contribute immensely to India’s 246-run triumph against England in Vizag. The seamer prised out the key wickets of Alastair Cook and Joe Root to ease the hosts’ pathway to victory.
In an interview with bcci.tv, the 26-year old shared an insight into how he managed to set up the two solid Englishmen with his propensity to move the new ball both ways and target the stumps without too much fuss.
Having demolished Cook’s stumps in the first innings, Shami revealed, “As a fast bowler, knocking the stumps of the batsman is one of the most delightful sights. You feel good about it as a bowler and it gives you a different kind of confidence. You feel proud to see the woodwork being disturbed. Test match bowling is all about patience and setting up dismissals.”
He elaborated, “I wanted Cook to keep playing away from his body. I kept swinging the ball away consistently and got one to nip back in to take him by surprise. I bowled two deliveries away from him and the moment I got the next one to come back into him, there was a slight gap between his bat and pad and it got him bowled.”
England’s skipper had been in prime form as evidenced by his second innings ton in the first Test and was a prized early wicket for India. Considering the left-hander’s prowess against the turning ball, his dismissal also allowed the spinners to settle down without any hindrance.
After setting a mammoth target in the second innings, Virat Kohli’s troops struck quite a few blows on the final day. However, Root continued to linger which offered some hope for the visitors. With the second new ball shining under the bright sky, Shami virtually ended the contest by getting one to smash into the Yorkshireman’s pads. He followed it up by sending back Adil Rashid as well during an inspired spell of pace bowling.
Shami noted, “I was using the crease well and bowling short deliveries to good effect. We knew Root was one batsman who could stick around for a long time if given a chance. I wanted to bluff him by showing the field for a bouncer but bowl a bit up to him and make him play a drive.
“Never mind if I got hit for a few boundaries, but executing that plan was important. For Adil Rashid, I was using more cross seam deliveries and it got a good carry after the bounce. He edged one to hand Wriddhiman Saha, an easy catch.”
A key aspect of his stellar showing was Umesh Yadav’s surprisingly economical effort in the second innings. The Vidarbha speedster produced a major breakthrough in the first innings by getting rid of a well set Jonny Bairstow. Despite the prevalence of spin-friendly and abrasive pitches in India, the duo have formed a fruitful pace partnership which should augur well for the team’s fortunes outside the subcontinent as well.
Shami enthused, “It is good to have a bowler like Umesh bowling from the other side who can bowl consistently at speeds of 140 (KPH) plus. Watching him bowl at that pace, you realize what is happening off the wicket and you look to implement the same or do better while bowling.
“When you see your fellow pacer bowling at the same pace, you can only take a few pointers from it and look to implement what you have noticed. The more your wavelengths match with your fellow pacer, the better it is.”