Fast and furious: How India's pace attack stunned South Africa

India Today

India Today

Author 2019-10-23 11:40:00


India clean swept South Africa 3-0 in the Test series. (AP Photo)

How many times do you see a visiting side getting bamboozled by an Indian pace attack and not the spinners? Well in the Freedom series, South African batsmen were left clueless by the Indian pace trio of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

India picked 60 South African wickets in the 6 innings the visitors batted where Umesh, Shami and Ishant accounted for 26 of them at an astonishing average of 17.46 while South Africa fast bowlers got 10 wickets at 70.20.

In fact, even South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis admitted that the visitors were prepared for the spin conditions on offer since their last tour in 2015 and gearing up for the pace challenge wasn't on top of the to-do-list.

Shami, who picked up 13 wickets in three Tests, said that Indian pace battery can now make batsmen 'dance' to their tunes even in home conditions which are traditionally known for being spin-friendly.

Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami ran through the South African top-order in both the innings with some unplayable deliveries. The looks on the faces of senior batsmen, including captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, told the story.

Umesh Yadav was not even in the initially-named squad for South Africa Test series. Umesh was called into the side as a replacement of Jasprit Bumrah, who sustained a minor stress fracture in his lower back before the series.
Under Virat Kohli, India has a lethal fast bowling trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, a luxury rarely enjoyed by his predecessors.

In India's first World Test Championship assignment in West Indies, the pace trio took 33 wickets and each of them featured in the top 4 of the bowling charts.

The trio has taken 172 wickets since 2018, making it the most successful pace battery in world cricket in the given period.

Since 2018, no team has had more than 2 bowlers picking up 50 Test wickets. India have three in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

Overall in last two years, Indian pacers have picked up 271 wickets at a strike rate of 44.2 in 23 matches, which tells you the main reason behind Team India's transition into the No.1 ranked Test team. From leading India to their first series win down under to becoming India's most successful Test captain, Virat Kohli has achieved many rare milestones as India skipper in this period.

Indian pacers have not only performed on tracks which have offered them assistance, but they have been relentless on unresponsive wickets, showcasing the world their ability to take wickets on any pitches on offer.

India, famous for producing world-class spinners over the years, now boasts of having one of the most lethal pace attacks in the world. The performance of the Indian fast bowlers across venues in the world has been a revelation, quite naturally drawing high praise from cricketers of both past and present.

Bumrah, Ishant, and Shami are not aberrations when it comes to speed-there is a long line of genuinely fast pacers waiting in the wings, waiting to step up on the big stage.


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