Shami Takes A New Step In The Direction Of The Second Seamer's The Role Of > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Shami takes another step towards second seamer's role

Shami finished with figures of 2 for 44.

There was rhythm written all over Mohammed Shami's run up for the first ball of the day. His numbers since October 2018 [17 wickets in 9 matches at 25.23] point towards consistency and more pertinently match fitness over a period of time that he's not enjoyed in the 50-over format since his post-2015 World Cup break down. And that showed in his approach to the crease.

The rhythm translated into fast bowling perfection - an upright seam keeping its shape while the ball surged its way ahead, whizzing past Usman Khawaja, swinging late before thudding into MS Dhoni's gloves.

The consistency was held through the entirety of his first spell (4-2-6-0) in a period when Australia didn't feel particularly adventurous. One of the standouts of this appreciable opening period of play from Shami was the discipline with lengths - consistently keeping it full to trouble a resolute Khawaja - and the constant progression in pace from early 130s to mid 140s - that even floored the big-framed Marcus Stoinis. And much to the delight of Virat Kohli and India, none of that was followed and sullied by usual leg-side looseners.

It had been realised early that Vijay Shankar's gentle pace in the 120s (kmph) with a not-so-new ball might have a negating effect on the favourable start. Kohli, rightly, turned to his three spinners to take him through the rigours of the middle overs when Australia settled in via Khawaja and Peter Handscomb.

Their exits in the 21st and 24th over, though, against the run of play and thanks to a fantastic catch at deep mid-wicket from Vijay fast-tracked Finch's plan to 'promote Maxwell' at some point this series. The 'Maxwell deserves more' narrative swung into action in haste, as he was quick off the blocks.

For a bowler eager not just to make the World Cup squad but even sneak into India's first XI ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, his second spell came in a fairly ideal and testing scenario. Just a few overs before Kohli had thrown the ball to Shami, Jasprit Bumrah was rendered ineffective in his second spell (2-0-19-0) by Maxwell and Handscomb. When Shami came on, the ball wasn't new, the pitch wasn't an ally anymore and Maxwell seemed to be enjoying his 'new' No. 5 role.

And then there was Ashton Turner, who brought no debutant nerves, and saw through Shami's change of pace on just the second ball to deposit it over midwicket. But that hit was one-third the amount of runs Shami would concede in his match-turning three-over spell - which once again was characterised by exemplary control. He would even get Turner with the same weapon - a wily off-cutter on a two-paced Hyderabad wicket - that sneaked under the batsman's miscalculated attempt at a pull shot.

Maxwell too struggled to wiggle his way out of Shami's stingy bowling - full or back-of-a-length in the high 130s (kmph). The Australian's plan of driving his way out of trouble didn't end well, as Shami unfurled a Test-match length ball that struck the top of off stump and knocked it out after seaming away slightly.

There was just one over where Australia managed to get a couple of their shots going against him, but even there - at the death - Shami didn't move away from his probing lengths, a bag full of cutters and slower ones and the simple plan of beating the batsmen by pace.

As he finished his final over in the 49th with figures of 2 for 44, the Hyderabad crowd that had been vociferously behind the home side throughout, afforded a generous round of applause.

Bhuvneshwar is still likelier to share the new ball with Bumrah in England, but Shami at the very least has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him to show he can essay the role too. In a World Cup populated with group stage games, Kohli would gladly take such luxuries aboard.

Live Home Series
Player Schedule
Points Table Cricket Rankings
Cricket Clothing Cricket Equipment
Cricinfo Apps Download