If Ravindra Jadeja’s five-fer stole the show in Nagpur, Shami shone bright on Day 1 in Delhi. Of course, the spinners also played their part with both Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin claiming three wickets each. Axar Patel yet again went wicketless. For Australia, Usman Khawaja top-scored with 81, while Peter Handscomb remained unbeaten on 72. Australia, however, suffered as their big three David Warner (15), Marnus Labuschagne (18) and Steve Smith (0) fell cheaply.
Shami got the scalps of Warner and Travis Head (12), before claiming the last two wickets to fall. Speaking to the media at the end of the day’s play, Shami refused to agree with the theory that Indian pitches are primarily for spinners.
“It’s wrong to say Indian wickets are for spinners only. There is something on offer for fast bowlers, too. If nothing, you’ll definitely get reverse swing,” he said, countering the theory.
On what a fast bowler needs to do to succeed in Indian conditions, the 32-year-old elaborated, “There aren’t too many differences among pitches in India. We just want the new ball to help us, or the old ball to reverse. As a fast bowler in India, you need to bowl in the right areas, you need to maintain a good pace. The runs were coming but it is important to find the right areas to bowl in.”
After India bowled out Australia for 263, the hosts went to stumps at 21/0, surviving nine overs. Asked for his thoughts on the total, Shami replied, “We restricted them to a decent total. We have to be careful of the turn and bounce, but otherwise it’s not a huge score. It’ll be good for us if we take a decent lead.”
During the press conference, Shami also opened on the importance of bowling in pairs. Asked why it is so significant, the seasoned pacer explained, “It’s never good to compare people. But it’s important to form a pair. We have seen the result of bowling in pairs in the last six-seven years in the Indian team. We have succeeded so much in part because we have enjoyed each other’s success a lot.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent