Watch: Virat Kohli asks crowd to cheer for Mohammed Shami, not him; Shami delivers
There is more than one way to prise out a wicket, as the Indian bowlers — and fielders — showed on the opening day.
Rohit, Jinks change Kohli’s mind
India started off with a square leg and a mid on in front of the wicket for the two left-handed Bangladesh openers but Sharma had other ideas. He wanted a short-leg catcher and turned to Kohli and gestured a potential inside-edge and pointed that the square-leg fielder can come in and the mid-on man can move to his left. Over the years, Kohli has shown that he is a captain who listens, and he immediately made the move. Soon after, the ball was clipped by Shadman Islam but it just about eluded the short-leg fielder.
Sometime later in the spell, Kohli sent Sharma from the slip region to short midwicket to Imrul Keyes. It was a puzzling move as there was enough movement on offer and the seamers were repeatedly slanting it across Keyes. Why would you not want a left-handed batsman play across the line? Soon, Rahane walked over to Kohli and gestured that Sharma be brought back to slips and Kohli yet again agreed. With more men in the slip cordon, the gully moved a touch to his left and Umesh Yadav produced a kicker that Keyes jabbed straight to Rahane at gully.
Ashwin’s twin set-ups
Mominul would later say he made a “tactical” error but it was well induced by Ashwin. A few balls spun past the bat before he went for that straighter one — the one where he holds the ball between his thumb and forefinger. The bounce depends on where it lands — it bounces if it’s on the seam and skids if its on the side of the ball, but it does come in with the angle. Mominul wasn’t alert, shouldered arms, and heard the death rattle behind him. It was ironical considering until then Mominul had shown exemplary judgement of the off stump, to seam and spin.
Mahmudullah, whose white-ball game seems to have affected his Test game, had decided that he was going to get outside to counter Ashwin. Try sweep as much as possible and if it’s a straighter one, then his movement towards off could help him negate. But it exposed his stumps a bit too much. Ashwin was careful enough to not show his cards too early, and started a few from outside the off-stump. Suddenly, he squirted one on the middle-stump and it beat the attempted sweep to clatter the middle stump. Ashwin uses the thumb-forefinger grip often these days, not just to left-handers but to right-handed batsmen as well. He should have had Mushfiqur Rahim with that but Rahane, who dropped three catches at first slip, was surprised with the pace and height.
Shami’s crack of doom
It was the battle of the opening day. Rahim had got over his initial nerves and settled in pretty well, in control of his back-foot punches and stretched drives. The ball too had lost its shine, but Shami lit up the arena with his skill. Such is his skill, that he can operate at two contrasting levels: as a skidder and as a heavy-ball exponent. He pinged the outside-off corridor before he stunned Rahim with a cracking nip-backer. It wasn’t as devilish as the one he bowled to the West Indian Shai Hope in the World Cup, but it was pretty close. This one was delivered from slightly wide of the crease but it cut back in like a crack of doom – and Rahim couldn’t do much as the ball nipped in to hit the top of off.
Jadeja ‘strong-arm’ tactic
Two runs seemed to be on when Taijul Islam squirted a ball to the deep backward square-leg, but he had not factored in the fastest arm in world cricket today. Jadeja rushed to his right near the boundary, swooped on the ball, and till that point, the batsmen looked safe. But then came the throw — rapid, at the stumps, on one bounce that made Wriddiman Saha’s job easy. Easily the best all-round fielder in the Indian team, in combination with that deadly arm, he is everywhere. The only real estate he doesn’t own is the slip cordon and it would be interesting to see how he adapts if he ever gets down there.