Mohammed Shami was right on the money from his first over to claim five wickets and put India in the driving seat. In doing so Shami also reached the milestone of reaching 200 wickets in only his 55 Test.
South Africa had bounced back well in the morning session of the third day after the entire second day was washed out due to rain, taking India’s last seven wickets for just 56 runs and restricting visitors to just 327.
After Jasprit Bumrah got the early wicket of South African captain Dean Elgar, it was Shami who was all over the South African batters, picking up key wickets of Keegan Peterson, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada and most importantly the wicket of the well-set Temba Bavuma. He ran in hard and was in rhythm from ball one and when on song Shami is one of the most dangerous bowlers in world cricket. He bowled in the channel of uncertainty consistently and his lengths were impeccable and hit the seam harder in the deck. His wrist position was perfect and that made him so effective.
This bowling performance was more so important as Bumrah got injured very early when he rolled his ankle and could not bowl for most of the South Africa innings, which helped India get a crucial lead of 130 runs.
When I had met him recently, I had asked him how does he stay calm and cool even though he is a fast bowler, he had said he does not believe in loosing his energy sledging the batsman and instead focus on getting him out. No wonder he is just the fifth Indian fast bowler to reach 200 Test wickets at an average of 27, which is best among all.