Shami was the star of the Indian bowling in the second innings of the recently-concluded first Test against New Zealand here, which ended in a 40-run defeat for the visitors.

But Shami made an impression taking three for 37, rattling the top-order of the Black Caps in the second innings, and set his team on a comeback path in the match after their first-innings performance had more or less closed that door.

At the start of play on day one, he bowled with fire, using the bounce in the Eden Park pitch to good effect. During the ODI series, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had impressed upon the 'need to aim the bouncers well'. And Shami did so, making both Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford jump around.

He should have picked up more wickets than the one he did in the first innings. But throughout that innings, he beat the bat regularly and was the toughest Indian bowler on display in best batting conditions.

Even as Brendon McCullum hit a double hundred and the Kiwis crossed the 500-run mark, it goes to show that among the four frontline bowlers deployed by Dhoni, Shami was the only one not to concede 100 runs.

More so, considering that he gave runs at only 3.39 per over, in his complete spell of 1-95 in 28 overs. In comparison, Zaheer Khan (2-132 in 30 overs) gave away runs at 4.40 per over, Ravindra Jadeja (1-120 in 26 overs) at 4.61 per over and despite his six-wicket haul, Ishant Sharma (6-134 in 33.4 overs) went at 3.98 per over.

At the end of the first innings, McCullum pointed out that "some days you just cannot get wickets. Shami bowled very well and didn't get the rewards".

The New Zealand skipper had talked about Ishant as well, given his superior wicket-tally. But it was obvious that the seamer had bowled shorter lengths throughout.


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