Mohammed Shami came onto bowl after Ashok Dinda had finished his first over. The India discard, Dinda, straightaway hit a perfect length and making the ball move away from the right-hander.
Shami took time to find his rhythm. Shami’s first over was not very impressive. He bowled a couple of feet short. There was no stand-out delivery.
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But Shami’s plus point is that he can produce a wicket-taking delivery out of no where, and on an Eden Gardens green-top, his pace was always going to trouble the Tamil Nadu batters.
Bengal were defending a paltry total and Shami didn’t have much time to settle down. He took two overs to get his first wicket — a peach of an inswinger, which trapped Baba Aparajith in front. The delivery was too sharp for the young Tamil Nadu No.3, who was beaten for pace. A wicket under his belt, Shami became almost unplayable. Ravichandran Ashwin offered no stroke to another inswinger that was pitched well outside the off stump. But little did Ashwin realise that the delivery would cut back off the surface.
S Badrinath was outclassed by an off-cutter. Shami had rocked Tamil Nadu by the time he was done with his first spell of six overs. About 2,500 fans, who were in attendance, gave him a standing ovation. Shami took one more wicket in his second spell to finish with four for 25 in 8.5 overs.
Shami has been playing non-stop since making his Test debut in November and towards the end of the Asia Cup, the 24-year-old seemed jaded. However, he said that he preferred to play after a short break rather than rest. “I returned from the Asia Cup five days ago and thought that playing this game would help me stay match-fit. I’m someone who stays fit with regular game-time, rather than taking rest. I tend to get lazy when I take rest,” Shami said.
Shami is leaving for Bangladesh with his India teammates on Friday. The job there would be a lot tougher than running through the Tamil Nadu top and middle-order.
“I always bowl my heart out. I always try to improve. It’s important to bowl well as a unit. It’s important to complement each other. I and (Ashok) Dinda supported each other very well in this match.