Analysis: How Shami dismantled Stokes in magical spell
The 33-year-old fast bowler has come into the India XI since the injury to Hardik Pandya and will be a tough player to drop after another brilliant performance saw him take 4/22 in seven scintillating overs.
Brought on as the first change with England already two wickets down, Shami had Ben Stokes in his sights for most of his opening two overs.
All 10 deliveries that the England legend faced were against Shami, with Stokes finally succumbing for a 10-ball duck after a spellbinding battle.
Here’s how Shami outgunned Stokes under the Lucknow lights:
5.3: Shami started with a ball on a good length that Stokes wisely opted against prodding at.
5.4: Early intent from Stokes saw him charge Shami, but away swing saw the Englishman only connect with fresh air as the ball flew through to the keeper.
5.5: Shami pulled his length back slightly and beat the edge of Stokes.
5.6: A good length ball was missed by Stokes and struck him on the pads. There was no risk of lbw but encouragement for Shami.
7.1: With Stokes back in his sights, Shami started his second over with a beauty that moved away from the batter and beat the outside edge as he propped forward to defend.
7.2: A shanked shot from Stokes dribbled into the ring for no run after the batter had stepped away to give himself room – a move that Shami must have noted.
7.3: A better shot from Stokes yielded no run as a shorter ball was stopped in the in-field.
7.4: The pick of the deliveries. This one angled in to Stokes from around the wicket and then nibbled away, somehow avoiding the edge. Later in the match Shami bowled a very similar delivery that accounted for Moeen Ali.
7.5: The frustration was clearly building for Stokes as he flicked a full and straight delivery for no run.
7.6: Out! For the second ball in a row Shami opted to go full and straight, playing on that frustration that Stokes had shown, coupled with his previous intent to back away and give himself room. Stokes did back away, went for the big heave, and had his stumps dismantled.
"India have the best all-round bowling attack"
Shami went on to dismiss Jonny Bairstow (14), Moeen Ali (15) and Adil Rashid (13), and, along with Jasprit Bumrah, completely ripped the heart out of an England batting line-up that struggled to cope with the quality on show.
Speaking after the match on the latest episode of the ICC’s Digital Daily, former England captain Michael Atherton said that Shami’s performance was exactly what his captain needed at that moment.
“There was a top-class spell from Jasprit Bumrah, but I’d say Mohammed Siraj wasn’t quite at his best. So what Rohit Sharma really needed was his third seamer, Mohammed Shami, to put in a top-quality spell with the new ball,” Atherton told ICC Digital Insider Tanvi Shah.
“He kept Ben Stokes under lock and key, didn’t give him anything to hit.
“He bowled a really tight line at him, and in the end Stokes lost his patience. To get that wicket at that point was such a critical moment in the game.
“Once England were four down at the end of the opening Powerplay it was very difficult to see them coming back and chasing that target.”
Shami’s performance was a big positive for an Indian side who had won all five of their previous matches with the bat.
But Atherton says that it is a big statement from India’s top-class bowling attack to have beaten England in a different manner.
“I think there’s been a lot of talk in the tournament so far about it being very high scoring, lots of individual scores of 100 or more,” Atherton said. “But what that means is that you need a really good bowling attack to counter all that.
“I think India have the best all-round bowling attack. You saw the three pacers there doing really well, and then they’ve got two great spinners and a third one sitting on the bench in Ravi Ashwin.
“There are no weaknesses in that bowling line-up – in all conditions they’re going to be very tough to score runs against.”
India top the standings at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 after their six straight victories, with fixtures against Sri Lanka, South Africa and Netherlands to come.