Team India continued their impressive run in Tests in 2019 with a comprehensive innings and 130-run triumph over Bangladesh at Indore. As has been the case in recent times, pace bowling it was that dominated the proceedings even though the Test match was played in India.
Mohammed Shami was the standout performer with 3 for 27 and 4 for 31 in the two innings, as Bangladesh batsmen could not stand up to his fiery spells. Courtesy his effort at Indore, Shami broke into the top 10 of Test bowling rankings. Shami has moved up eight spots, and is now at number seven in the bowling rankings. He has 749 rating points.
Shami is, in fact, the leading wicket-taker for India in Tests this year. In 7 Tests, he has picked up 31 wickets at an average of 15.22 and a strike rate of 34 with one five-wicket haul. Shami’s best performance this year, unless he betters it at Eden Gardens, came at Visakhapatnam when he picked up 5 for 35 to run through South Africa in the second innings. Shami bowled India to victory by 203 runs after Mayank Agarwal’s 215 and Rohit Sharma’s 176.
The pacer from Bengal shone in the Test against the Proteas at Ranchi as well. After picking up 2 for 22 in the first innings, he was sensational in the second innings with 3 for 10. Shami sent back Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma in one unplayable spell as India rolled over South Africa for 133 after they were asked to follow-on. Shami was the star in the second innings of the Kingston Test against West Indies as well, picking up 3 for 58 as India won the game by 257 runs.
While Shami has taken it upon himself to lead the pace attack in injured Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, Ishant Sharma has quietly slipped into the role of senior pro, keeping things tight at one end while also claiming some crucial scalps. The lanky Sharma has featured in five Tests this year and has claimed 16 wickets at an impressive average of 19.43 and a strike rate of 41.5.
Ishant’s best performance this year, so far, came in the North Sound Test against West Indies when he picked up 5 for 43 in West Indies’ first innings. The Windies, replying to India’s 297 build around Ajinkya Rahane’s 81, were restricted to 222. Sharma got the wickets of Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer to keep India ahead in the contest. He also claimed 3 for 31 in West Indies’ second innings to finish with a match tally of eight wickets.
The injury to Bumrah gave Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav’s Test career a fresh lease of life, and the hungry bowler has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. In three Tests, he has 15 scalps to his name at an average of 15.46 and a strike rate of 27.0. Yadav claimed 3 for 37 in South Africa’s first innings at Pune, sending back the top three with his potent pace. He claimed another three in the second to cap a perfect comeback. At Ranchi, Yadav continued his impressive return, finishing with five wickets in the game. At Indore against Bangladesh as well he claimed 2 for 47 and 2 for 51 in the two innings.
Although, Bumrah is out injured, he made his mark even in the three Tests he featured in. His 6 for 27 in the Kingston Test broke the back of West Indies in the first innings. During the performance, Burmah also became the third Indian to claim a Test hat-trick. The supreme effort followed the 5 for 7 he finished with in West Indies’ second innings at North Sound, as the hosts crumbled to 100 all-out chasing 419.