Mohammed Shami turned out to be a nightmare
for South African batters as he ran through the Proteas’ batting line-up
picking up a fifer on day 3 of the Centurion Test at SuperSport Park. With his
perfect seam position and pace, Shami decimated South Africa for 197 runs,
giving India a first innings lead of 130 runs in the first Test of a
three-match series.

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Shami was so phenomenal that watching him
operate reminded former South Africa batter Daryll Cullinan of the likes of
England’s James Anderson and his former teammate Shaun Pollock. Hailing Shami’s
variations and skills, Cullinan heaped praise on the India pacer, explaining
factors that make him stand out from the rest.

“Just watch his seam position. It is
perfectly up there. Watching him bowl reminded me on Pollock and Anderson that
don’t seem to waste the ball. He was on strike constantly with subtle
variations and seam positions. It’s not as if the batters are anticipating his
line and length,” Cullinan said on ESPNCricinfo.

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Shami returned with a five-wicket haul
giving away 44 runs in the first innings. In the second innings, with 16 runs
on board, India extended their lead to 146 runs. Before the start of the
Centurion Test, Shami was five short of reaching the 200 Test wickets mark. On Tuesday,
he became the fifth Indian pace bowler after Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer
Khan, Ishant Sharma to complete 200 Test wickets. Cullinan went on speaking
about Shami, explaining how the fast bowler thinks everything through.

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“It’s just that control which may vary
a foot wider and foot fuller. That’s what to me makes him so good. He finds that
in between length which is the big key… He is constantly asking you questions.
There is a thought process behind everything he does,” added the former
South Africa batter.