Shami: 375-400 would be good target for South Africa

SA vs IND: Mohammed Shami registered a five-wicket haul against South Africa on Tuesday.

Mohammed Shami

India bowler Mohammed Shami reacts after taking his 200th Test wicket.   -  AP

Mohammed Shami was the pick of the bowlers as India registered a comfortable 130-run lead over South Africa at the end of the second innings of the first Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.

The 31-year-old, who now has 200 Test wickets in his kitty, said it was all about pitching the ball on the right line and length. “We focused and adapted (to the changing conditions). We bowled in the right areas, kept up the pressure. There was some help for us,” he said.

Asked how he would rate the five-wicket haul on Tuesday among the other milestones he has breached, Shami said, “All five-wicket hauls in Test cricket are special. You cannot pick any one of them. Similarly you cannot pick a wicket or a batsman. All wickets are important.”

Asked what would be a good target for the Indian bowlers to defend, Shami said, “There are still two more days left. Anything from 375 to 400 would be a good target.”

'Not the quickest wicket'

Temba Bavuma fought hard for the Proteas with an innings of 52. While he was pleased with his innings, the South African vice-captain conceded India was ahead in the game.

Asked about the playing conditions, he said, “The movement wasn’t exaggerated. It wasn’t the quickest wicket I have played on here. Credit to the Indians for bowling so well. Particularly, Mohammed Shami.”

Heaping further praise on the paceman, Bavuma said, “He’s a world class bowler. We have seen him bowl like this around the globe.” He observed, “As a group we want to avoid soft dismissals. But when someone bowls wicket-taking balls, all credit to him. The movement was challenging.”

About South Africa’s lack of match practice in Test cricket - it last played a Test match six months ago - Bavuma said, “I don’t want to be making excuses. You can have any number of practice sessions but match practice and match intensity are different.

“On the first day, you could see, we did not play with our usual intensity.”

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