The moment Mohammed Shami bowled the first ball of his second spell, it felt as if everything has fallen in place.
KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja’s star turn with the bat might have got India a five-wicket against Australia in the first ODI but the credit for restricting visitors to a gettable total goes to Shami.
“It felt alright right from the first ball of the second spell. The ball was coming off nicely from the point of release,” Shami told the mediapersons after the match.
“We talk about the seam position or off the deck, but the focus was to keep the ball in good areas because they were playing on the back-foot. My mindset was to pitch the ball a little further with a slip in place, as I had done in the first spell,” he explained.
Shami said it was pleasing to see Rahul playing a key role with the bat after a long period of struggle with the bat and criticism from almost all corners.
“He has played so many good innings in the past. It happens sometimes that luck does not favour you, or things are not working out well if you are trying to do something,” Shami said.
“The pressure (on Rahul) was certainly there, we had lost so many wickets in quick succession but the way he rebuilt, it was very nice to see that one of our players has made runs in a pressure situation,” Shami added.
The right-arm India pacer, who returned with 6-2-17-3 on Friday, said it is important to clinch the momentum at the right time in venues like the Wankhede Stadium here.
“If you see overall then there have been high-scoring matches as well here. The pitches here have good bounce, the ball comes nicely on the bat too, (big) runs are also scored here at this venue,” Shami said.
“But if you would have noticed, whenever someone bowls in the right areas, (the course) of a match changes. It is all about when you are able to shift the momentum – early or late. That is what we pulled off today, once we got the momentum on our side after the 20th over, we capitalised on it and we were able to stop them at 188,” he said.
Enjoyed bowling with Siraj
Shami said he enjoys bowling in tandem with Mohammed Siraj in the absence of an injured Jasprit Bumrah.
“It has been a long time since Bumrah has not been playing. It is our hard luck that he is not there.
But we have a very good overall bowling unit for both white and red balls. We support each other a great deal,” Shami said.
“Siraj has been playing for a while, he has the confidence. It is important to see how well the other bowler is doing when bowling in partnerships. We try to bowl as tight as possible, keeping the ball in specific patches. As a senior bowler you have to lead the way,” he added.
Shami said it is important for players to be smart about their workload management with two big events, the ICC World Test Championship final and the World Cup lined up.
“There is a lot of time left for the WTC final and World Cup. As a player, you cannot think that far ahead. You never know what will happen tomorrow.” “But you have to be smart as far as workload is concerned, you have to work on your strengths. You know your workload as per international cricket. It is better to take it series by series or match by match,” he said.
Didn’t expect the track to be this challenging: Stoinis
Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, on the other hand, accepted that his side did not expect the pitch to be as challenging as it turned out to be.
“It was probably not exactly what we expected. It also shows we did not adapt quick enough. We did not get enough runs on the board and the pitch did a bit through the whole game, even with the old ball,” Stoinis said.
The ploy to play eight batters didn’t work, admitted Stoinis.
“We were short by runs, not by bowlers. We are experimenting with combinations, and by playing eight batters we would have loved to put the scoreboard pressure. We did not sum up the conditions well and did not bat well,” he added.