With AB de Villiers starting from where he had left off on day three, South Africa were looking primed to grab all the honours in the first session of the day four of the ongoing Centurion Test. However, India clawed their way back into the game right towards the end of the session courtesy of Mohammed Shami’s brilliant bowling.
South Africa began the penultimate day firmly on top with the scoreboard reading 90 for 2 and their overall lead extended to 118. They further strengthened their grip after their overnight batsmen de Villiers and Dean Elgar started the day in fine fashion, adding 54 runs in no time. In no time, de Villiers raced away to 80 after starting the day on 50. But before the duo could inflict further damage on India, Shami rocked the hosts with three quick wickets.
De Villiers was the first to depart, falling to a brilliant rising delivery from the Bengal pacer. Elgar was the next after he pulled a short delivery from Shami straight to the fielder at the deep square leg. The best was yet to come from Shami. In the very next over after dismissing Elgar, the right-arm pacer toyed with Quinton de Kock for three deliveries, leaving him absolutely clueless before dismissing him on the fourth. All the four deliveries were edged by the Proteas batsman but while the first three found a way to the boundary one way or another, the fourth went into the gloves of Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.
South Africa ended the first session on 173 for 5 with their overall lead extended to 201 runs.
Meanwhile, Twitter was quick to praise the 27-year old for his spell which allowed India to fight back after being pushed on the backfoot initially. Here are some of the reactions:
Top class bowling @MdShami11 removing 3 batsman quickly brining is back in the game.. De cock played 4 balls 4 edges no clue🤪 shami at top
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) January 16, 2018
Unbelievable stuff….four edges…three fours and finally a wicket. Shami turning on the heat. India back in the game. #SAvIND
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 16, 2018
Was about to say it was time to drop Md. Shami when he gets ABD wicket.😊 Still, he hasn't looked like a strike bowler at all.
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) January 16, 2018
And from nowhere Shami has produced three wickets to bring the match alive. India need a couple from Ashwin though
— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) January 16, 2018
So if we’re struggling against Bumrah and Shami, what’s going to happen against Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins? Lyon even. Can we afford to drag dodgy batsmen into that battle? #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/iHU1CKvFIQ
— Sibongile Mafu (@sboshmafu) January 16, 2018
Huge wicket by shami. come on Indiaaaaaaa #INDvSA
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) January 16, 2018
Shami, who has looked lacklustre yet, gives India the breakthrough they want and the match a fresh twist. @ABdeVilliers17 goes, @imVkohli s ecstatic. But he must beware his celebrations don't go overboard. Has already copped 25% match fees fine y'day!
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 16, 2018
Dean Elgar fought so hard to get through yesterday, more fluent today, & his 61 in more than 3 hours was a vital innings. So it's a pity he got out in soft fashion, swinging Shami to deep backward square-leg … 5 yards either side … SA 151-4, lead 179
— Ken Borland (@KenBorland) January 16, 2018
SA being SA is choking again. 3 wickets in 3 overs by Shami. Hope IND finish this off soon. Every run matters now! #INDvSA
— Pankaj Ahuja (@panku_) January 16, 2018
What's with day four and Shami on this tour? What's with Bumrah and second innings on this tour? #SAvInd
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) January 16, 2018
Mohammad Shami bowled five balls at Quinton de Kock. The first four were on lengths between 7 & 7.5 meters before he shortened it off the fifth to 9.2 meters & got the edge that went to hand.
None of the first four balls seamed more than 0.7°. The wicket ball? 1.73°.#SAvInd
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) January 16, 2018
Come on Shami 👍👍5 more to go
— Rajshekhar Boddu (@RajshekharBoddu) January 16, 2018
Ye Shami itni late q form mein ata hai especially wen the birdssss chug gaii khet 😂😂😂😂 #SAvsIndia
— Gaurang Dubey (@gogo1408) January 16, 2018