Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain, said Mohammed Shami is currently among the world’s top three pace bowlers after the latter was instrumental in India’s 113-run victory over South Africa in the first Test in Centurion. 

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In the first innings, Shami took 5/44 to help India bowl out the Proteas for 197 runs, giving his team a 130-run lead. After setting a 305-run goal for South Africa, Shami returned with figures of 3/63 to help India beat them by 113 runs on Thursday. The victory gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, which still has games to be played in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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Kohli praised Shami during the post-match presentation. “Shami is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top three seam bowlers in the world for me. Very, very happy for him to get 200 wickets and have an impactful performance,” said Kohli.

Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, India’s opening batsmen, were also hailed by the Indian Test captain for getting the team off to a solid start on the first day.

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“We got off to the perfect start we wanted to. Getting the result in four days shows how well we played. It’s always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball and in the field. A lot of credit goes to Mayank and KL and we were in pole position at 270 for 3 after day one,” he elaborated.

“We had a lot of belief in our bowling unit to get the job done. We spoke about it in the change room. Since he didn’t bowl much in the first innings, it helped the opposition get those extra runs. Just the way these guys bowl together, it’s just a hallmark of our team getting a result from that position,” he said.

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KL Rahul, the player of the match also applauded Shami’s performance and seemed satisfied with his own. “On a challenging pitch the opening partnership is crucial. Really happy with my performance. Don’t think I’ve made too many technical changes. It’s about my mindset, how calm and disciplined I am. It’s all coming nicely now,” he said.

“This win gives us a lot of confidence. Want to keep getting better as individuals and try to win another Test in a few days time,” he added. 

India will face South Africa in the next test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on January 3, 2022.