Mohammed Shami went wicketless in the first innings of the Visakhapatnam Test against South Africa. He bowled 18 tireless overs–four of which were maidens–conceding just 47 runs as South Africa posted 431 runs in response to India’s first innings total of 502/7, on a track which had no lateral movement whatsoever for the pacers.
However, as the second innings came, Shami turned his beastly mode on once again. He registered terrific bowling figures of 5/35 in just 10.4 overs and, thus, powered India to a massive 203-run victory.
In fact, this has been the trend of Shami’s performances over the years. He has been far more effective as a bowler in the second innings of Test matches as compared to that in the first innings. A glance at his first and second innings numbers in his career thus far will confirm that.
In his 43 outings during the first innings, Shami has 78 wickets to his name at a mediocre average and strike-rate of 34.47 and 60.6 respectively. However, in 40 outings during the second innings, Shami has picked up 80 wickets a terrific average and strike-rate of 22.58 and 41.4 respectively. So the wide discrepancy between his first and second innings statistics is clearly visible and this is the reason why he is often called ‘Second-innings Shami’.
His scalps during this match included the likes of Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Dane Piedt and Kagiso Rabada. Four of these players were dismissed bowled and that was the reward for the tight lines and skiddish lengths Shami bowled.
In fact, 27 of his 80 victims during the second innings of Tests have been dismissed bowled while 11 of them have been trapped lbw. So, almost half of his wickets have come while bowling a stump-to-stump line. That shows how accurate he is with his line and length. He can bowl at a speed of over 140 kph consistently for a long duration as well. And this is the reason why the Indian management prefers him so much over the other third seam-bowling options available in the circuit.
Written by: Prasenit Dey