India fast bowler Mohammed Shami admitted that it was frustrating to beat the bat repeatedly, and still not get adequate wickets after returning 2/110 in England's second innings.
Shami's figures of 0/72 and 2/110 in the two England innings in The Oval Test do little justice to just how well he bowled. The bowler beat the bat with great frequency but simply couldn't find the edges.
His woes were magnified when he had to shoulder a greater load of the fast-bowling duties after Ishant Sharma left the field due to a 'discomfort'. India hadn't picked seam-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya for the game, which meant Shami bowled a lot of overs on day four of the Test on Monday, 10 September. He bowled a total of 25 overs in England's second innings of 423/8 declared, which set India an improbable target of 464.
Alastair Cook hits heroic 💯 in his final Test innings as England's seasoned campaigners punish India.💥 #ENGvIND #CookRetires #ThankYouChef— ICC (@ICC) September 10, 2018
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"It depends on luck sometimes," Shami said ruefully. "As a bowler, your main target is to hit good areas consistently, especially with the new ball. Whether that yields wickets depends on luck, but it is certainly a bit frustrating... the ball beat the bat several times, but it's fine, I've to accept the wickets I got.
"It is difficult when you're one bowler short, and in these conditions you'll have to bowl since it is fast-bowler friendly. Yes, the load increases but it's nothing so serious. It happens, bowlers feel discomfort and as a means of preventing injury, you leave the field. We have a great understanding in the bowling group in that regard."
Despite the setback, Shami was willing to look at the positives, judging himself on how he bowled rather than the wickets he got. He felt he had shown significant improvement since India's 2014 tour of England.
"I've learnt a lot. When we had come here in 2014, we didn't even have that much experience and we weren't mature (as bowlers). This time, we watched a lot of videos of Jimmy Anderson and (Stuart) Broad to see where they pitched the ball, especially in English conditions. As compared to last time, we did better this time," he said.
Shami has finished the tour with 10 wickets to his name, two of which have come in the fifth and final Test, which England seem poised to win in a fitting farewell for Alastair Cook, who scored 147 to rousing applause. India will resume at 58/3, and will probably have their eyes trained on a credible draw.