Veteran pacer Mohammad Shami was one of the stars in India’s five-wicket victory over Australia in the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Friday (March 17).
Opting to bowl first, India bundled out the visitors for 188 in 35.4 overs. Shami ran through Australia’s middle-order as he dismissed Josh Inglis (26), Cameron Green (12) and Marcus Stoinis (5) to return with the figures of 3/17 in his six overs.
Addressing the media after the match, Shami said: "It felt alright right from the first ball of the second spell. The ball was coming off nicely from the point of release."
"We talk about the seam position or off the deck, but the focus was to keep the ball in good areas because they were playing on the back-foot. My mindset was to pitch the ball a little further with a slip in place, as I had done in the first spell," he added.
Chasing the paltry target, India were reeling at 39/4 before KL Rahul (75* off 91 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (45* off 69 balls) produced stunning knocks to take the hosts over the line in 39.5 overs.
Shami said it was pleasing to see Rahul playing a key role with the bat amid the criticism.
"He has played so many good innings in the past. It happens sometimes that luck does not favour you, or things are not working out well if you are trying to do something," the fast bowler said.
"The pressure (on Rahul) was certainly there, we had lost so many wickets in quick succession but the way he rebuilt, it was very nice to see that one of our players has made runs in a pressure situation," he remarked.
The right-arm pacer said it is important to clinch the momentum at the right time in venues like the Wankhede Stadium.
"If you see overall then there have been high-scoring matches as well here. The pitches here have good bounce, the ball comes nicely on the bat too, (big) runs are also scored here at this venue," Shami said.
"But if you would have noticed, whenever someone bowls in the right areas, (the course) of a match changes. It is all about when you are able to shift the momentum - early or late. That is what we pulled off today, once we got the momentum on our side after the 20th over, we capitalised on it and we were able to stop them at 188," he further stated.
Shami said he enjoys bowling in tandem with Mohammed Siraj, who returned with the figures of 3 for 29 in his 5.4 overs in the ODI series opener.
"It has been a long time since Bumrah has not been playing. It is our hard luck that he is not there. But we have a very good overall bowling unit for both white and red balls. We support each other a great deal," Shami said.
"Siraj has been playing for a while, he has the confidence. It is important to see how well the other bowler is doing when bowling in partnerships. We try to bowl as tight as possible, keeping the ball in specific patches. As a senior bowler you have to lead the way," he added.
Shami also highlighted the importance of workload management with two big events – the ICC World Test Championship final and the World Cup – lined up this year.
"There is a lot of time left for the WTC final and World Cup. As a player, you cannot think that far ahead. You never know what will happen tomorrow." But you have to be smart as far as workload is concerned, you have to work on your strengths. You know your workload as per international cricket. It is better to take it series by series or match by match," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)