Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

India captain Virat Kohli lauds 'second-innings' Mohammed Shami - and the stats show why

India fast bowler comes into his own in the final innings, and he did it against in the first Test against South Africa

Mohammed Shami picked up five wickets in the second innings against South Africa in the Visakhapatnam Test. AFP
Mohammed Shami picked up five wickets in the second innings against South Africa in the Visakhapatnam Test. AFP

India captain Virat Kohli lauded the wicket-taking abilities of fast bowler Mohammed Shami in the final innings of a Test after the hosts stormed to a 203-run win the first Test against South Africa on Sunday.

Shami blew the Proteas away on the fifth day of the Test, picking up 5-35 from 10.5 overs with four of the dismissals clean bowled.

The 29-year-old fast bowler is particularly effective in the last innings of a Test and his stats prove that. In the first innings, Shami has picked up 78 wickets form 43 innings and 80 from 40 outings in second innings. However in the second innings, his average drops from 34.4 to 22.5 and his strike rate comes down from 60.6 to 41.4.

All these numbers point to a fast bowler who really comes into his own when the pitch starts to deteriorate and there is a possibility of reverse swing. He attacks the stumps more than most pacers in the world, giving him a greater chance to apply pressure.

"Shami has been a strike bowler for us in the second innings consistently now," Kohli said on Sunday.

"If you see all his four, five-wicket hauls have come in the second innings. And invariably when the team needs it, the ball is reversing a bit... that's his strength."

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the pacer has been given the nick name "second-innings Shami".

Shami becomes lethal in the fourth innings of a Test, which is invariably the fifth day when bounce in the pitch becomes unpredictable. In 18 fourth-innings outings, Shami has 39 wickets at a superb average of 19.7 and a strike rate of a wicket every 36.4 balls. Four of his five five-wicket hauls have come in the second innings, which also shows that he takes his time to hit top gear in a Test.

While fast bowlers don't exactly enjoy bowling in Indian conditions, Shami relishes home pitches. In 12 Tests in India, Shami has 45 wickets at an average of 23.5 and a strike rate of 46; stats which are significantly lower than his numbers away from home.

Updated: October 6, 2019 04:36 PM

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