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At Eden, 'Shami' Takes from 'Sachin'

Minutes before the Eden Gardens Test started Wednesday, Mohammed Shami was handed over his maiden Test cap by Ishant Sharma. Mocking, considering Shami had just swapped Ishant in the eleven for the match against the West Indies. But by the time the Test finished Friday, one that Shami helped finish in advance, the debutant had snatched away Ishant's long-held title of 'pace spearhead' as well. With a spectacular display of reverse swing bowling, Shami scissored through the West Indies batting order late on day three to stop with a five-wicket haul in the second innings. His figures of 5/47 in the second innings made sure that Darren Sammy's side was bowled out for just 168 and India won the game by an innings and 51 runs. Explodes took his match haul to 9/118 the most by an Indian pacer on debut, superior than Munaf Patel's 7/97 in Mohali in 2006. All this took place at his home ground. The packed house at the Eden had bystander something exceptional from an Indian bowler at an Indian ground speed of over 140 kmph, banana-swinging deliveries and flying stumps. So extraordinary was the unfolding drama that by time the players left the field, the normal crowd chorus of "Sachin, Sachin" had changed to "Shami, Shami". M S Dhoni was assured that India had lastly been blessed with what they were looking for a true tear away. "Shami is an unbelievable find, someone who has huge skills," the Indian captain said at the presentation ritual. "Everyone was reversing the ball today. But what made Shami's reverse swing extraordinary was the length he bowled." West Indies captain Darren Sammy decided. "Our bowlers were either too full or too short. Shami had that distressing back-of-a-length spot," he said. "That's how it should to be done."

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