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Mohammed Shami joint fastest Indian pacer to reach 50 Test wickets

India Today logo India Today 24-07-2016

Mohammed Shami is back! The Indian pacer, who was out of action for more than a year owing to a knee injury, has rattled the West Indies top-order on the third day of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua.

Shami, with the wicket of veteran West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels in the 50th over of the innings, became the joint fastest Indian pacer to reach 50 Test scalps. Shami, who reached the landmark in his 13th Test match, has emulated Venkatesh Prasad's feat.

Shami, who drew the first blood at the close of second day's play with the wicket of West Indies opener Rajendra Chandrika, has been phenomenal in the first two sessions of the third day. Shami kept asking questions with a tight line outside the off stump. Backed by captain Virat Kohli, who provided him with a packed inner ring, Shami kept banging in short and reaped rewards.

He got one to move away from left-handed Darren Bravo and got his first prey of the morning. He came back to bowl a double-wicket maiden, in which he removed danger men Marlon Samuels and Blackwood with bouncers.

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SHAMI STANDS OUT

When his counterparts Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were hardly posing any troubles, Shami made sure West Indies batsmen played most of his deliveries. He kept attacking Samuels with a stump-to-stump line, which has proved effective against him.

It was enticing to see Shami, who had recovered from a serious knee injury he suffered during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, extracting bounce from West Indies conditions, that have traditionally favoured fast bowlers. Notably Shami had played with a swollen knee during the showpeice event Down Under, in which he scalped 17 wickets, including four against arch-rivals Pakistan to become India's highest wicket-taker.

READY FOR TOUGH TEST SEASON

Shami's doctor labelled his injury as 'career-threatening' and lauded the determination showed by the pacer to fight his way back. Shami was scheduled to tour Australia earlier this year but pulled out as the knee issues haunted him again. After getting enough match practise in the two tour games against WICB Board President's XI, the pacer now though looks fit and agile and seems to be ready to the lead the bowling attack in the upcoming Test season, in which India will be playing three more in the Caribbean and 13 Tests at home.

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