India vs SL 1st Test: Mohammed Shami says India "put in special effort"
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami took India to the brink of victory as the first Test ended in a draw.
What's the story?
Indian swing bowler Mohammad Shami, who picked up 6 wickets in the first Test against Sri Lanka today, spoke after India drew the match on Day 5 of the Test at Kolkata's Eden Gardens today.
Praised for his performance, Shami said in the post-match presentation that the team "put in the kind of extra effort" that was needed in the final overs of the match.
He mentioned that India had not performed ideally on Days 1 and 2, but picked up the pace since.
The first Test at Kolkata was not exactly smooth sailing for either team, with rain, and then poor light, variously hampering play on the first three days of the match. Low light remained an issue on all 5 days - and in fact, led to a curtailed final day of play as well. That curtailed day of play possibly may have cost India the ability to wrap up the match.
Considering how Sri Lankan wickets were tumbling in the final few overs, it is not out of the realm of possibility that India could have cleaned up the remaining three wickets, finishing the Test in their favour.
Shami mentioned the light, and also said he expected that India would perform better after Day 2 of play.
"I knew that the drier pitch would be better to bat on, this being my home ground," Shami said. The 27-year-old represents Bengal in domestic cricket.
In case you didn't know
Shami was one of the most economical bowlers in the match, conceding only 100 runs from his 26 overs and scalping four Sri Lankan batsmen in the process.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was adjudged Player of the Match for his bowling performance, picking up 8 wickets in the match. He conceded only eight runs in Sri Lanka's second innings, bowling 11 overs of which 8 were maidens.
Together with Shami, Kumar dismantled Sri Lanka's batting attack, helping bring India to the brink of victory at the first Test.
Shami also contributed with the bat, scoring more than Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and R. Ashwin in India's first innings.
Shami's insight into the pitch was no doubt invaluable, considering that the player has been part of the Bengal side since 2010 - when he was 20 years old. Given the frequency of rain in Kolkata, Shami would also no doubt be familiar with the pitch under specific conditions.
Shami was also part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, making Eden Gardens a true home ground for him across formats.
The player has been in the capital, Kolkata, since 2005, at the age of 15 even before he began his cricketing career on the professional stage, so Kolkata could well be considered home; it is possible he had inputs into team strategy here.
With three balls left to bowl in his over when light accelerated the end of play, Shami could well have helped put the final nail in the coffin in the first Test.
The teams now travel to Maharashtra for the second Test at Nagpur.