When it was announced that Ishant Sharma would be missing the first couple of Tests against the Kiwis after contracting Chikungunya, a void had been formed in the Indian pace attack. The other bowlers in the squad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav had played a total of 49 Tests in total amongst them coming into the Test series.
The first Test saw Yadav partner Shami, the second Test saw Kumar come in for Yadav. The constant has been the 26-year-old Shami from Uttar Pradesh who represents West Bengal in the domestic circuit, making this a special Test for him, being played at the Eden Gardens.
He had firmly established himself in the Indian setup by the 2015 Cricket World Cup before an injury caused him to miss over a year of international cricket. Having made his comeback, he hasn’t skipped a beat and been incredibly impressive ever since.
Shami thrives on bowling the ball on a good length consistently and has the ability to swing the ball both ways. He really comes into his own with the older ball, where has shown to have a penchant for reverse swing, a rare art.
As India looked to win her 250th Test at home, the Kiwis had remained resolute for large parts of the day, offering a steely resolve as they looked to push the Test into the final day.
The delivery that flummoxed BJ Watling
Watch the video: The incredible delivery by Mohammed Shami
It was the 61st over of the day. The seamers had not enjoyed as much success as they did in the first innings, where they had accounted for 8 of the Kiwi wickets. In the second innings, Ravichandran Ashwin had done most of the damage and the Kiwis had looked largely comfortable against the seamers.
BJ Watling took guard to face up to Shami
60.1 – Shami to Watling, no run, plenty of reverse-swing as Watling just manages to get an inside edge onto the pads
60.2 – Shami to Watling, no run, wide outside off and left alone
60.3 – Shami to Watling, no run, beats Watling’s outside edge as he looks to poke it to point
60.4 – Shami to Watling, OUT! He gets his man! Absolutely destroys the off-stump, it goes flying up in dramatic fashion. Does a couple of 360s in the air before landing a good few feet behind the stumps. Shami cannot be stopped as he takes off in celebration, his arms stretched as he looks like he’ s about to take off. What a ball it was.
Pitched on a length on off stump, plenty of reverse-swing in the air, the ball holds it shape just a tiny hint after pitching and as Watling looked to come forward to defend, the ball just whizzed past the outside edge and crashed into the stumps. The batsman was astounded as he had to take his leave a mere 8 balls after coming into the crease.
Shami’s teammates joined him in celebration as the wicket helped India enter the Kiwi tail and claim a victory on day 4. Only in his previous over, he had caught Santner right in front with another superb delivery, with the reverse-swing proving too much for the young all-rounder.
In his previous over, Shami’s bowling partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a very similar dismissal when he destroyed Jeetan Patel’s stumps.
It was only fitting that Shami took the final wicket of the day with a short ball to Trent Boult, who in typical tail-ender fashion swung his bat at it and got a top edge that ballooned in the air to Murali Vijay.
There was plenty for India to be pleased as Virat Kohli led his team off the field. They had clinched the 3 match series 2-0 with one Test to spare, they had secured the No. 1 Test ranking they had lost to Pakistan and perhaps most impressively, the team extended their unbeaten streak to 13 matches at home.
Shami’s dismissal of Watling will go down in history as one of the iconic dismissals at Eden Gardens and it is sure to be a moment to savour for the humble pace bowler. There are no doubters anymore, he is among the world’s elite pacers. And he deserves to be.