ESPNcricinfo Awards 2021 – Test Bowling Nominees

Hasan Ali
5 for 60 vs South Africa
second test, Rawalpindi

The second Test in his comeback, Hasan took 5 for 54 in South Africa’s first dig. He would harass them again in the second innings. On the hunt for 370, South Africa had reached 127 for 1 before its invaders took on Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis. South Africa managed to recover to 241 for 3, but he dented them once more, forcing century-maker Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock to reject consecutive deliveries. A few overs later, he removed George Linde to put an end to South Africa’s hopes and complete his first ten-wicket haul in Test Cricket.

Tim Southee
6 for 43 vs England
first Test, Lord’s

In the absence of Trent Boult, New Zealand leaned heavily on Southee with the ball, and he did not disappoint. After debutant Devon sent Conway’s New Zealand double hundred to 378, Southee cheaply removed Zak Crawley for the tea on day two. The next day the rain washed away, but Southee came back roaring on the fourth morning. He swung the ball both ways and gobbled up England’s middle order, reducing it to 140 for 6. Ollie Robinson’s highest run gave Southee a five-for, and later got top scorer Rory Burns behind him to round out the innings. New Zealand took a 103 point lead but there was not enough time left for a straight result.

Kyle Jamieson
5 for 31 vs India
World Test Championship Final, Southampton

Only playing in his eighth Test, Jamieson took the opportunity to give New Zealand the upper hand in the WTC final. He started by sacking Rohit Sharma to break the 62-run opening score, and when India recovered from 88 for 3, he dealt a decisive blow by trapping Virat Kohli lbw. It was a typical Jamieson wicket: the tall fast bowler hitting a length just full enough to find seam movement and target the stumps or the outside edge. Shortly after, he got Rishabh Pant into the second slip and then took two tail-end wickets to take India all the way out for 217.

Shaheen Africa
6 for 51 vs West Indies
second test, Kingston

Nearly two days of the test were lost due to rain and poor light. The fact that Pakistan came out with a win was due to Afridi. After Pakistan declared their first innings at 302 for 9, he showed his range. A full, rousing delivery to Castle Kraigg Brathwaite. Kieran Powell stuck in front with one that went straight after the throw. Alzarri caught Joseph in the skids of one that ran diagonally over him. A sniffer that had kept Jermaine Blackwood off the trench. Afridi’s best career numbers had West Indies all-out for 150, resulting in a high total for them to chase in the fourth innings and they didn’t come close.

James Anderson
3 for 6 vs India
third test, Leeds

In the previous Test, Anderson and Co had lost the plot when they tried to defeat India’s pursuers. But this was a masterclass controlled swing bowling. In the first over of the game, Anderson threw three inswingers to KL Rahul before taking one away, causing an outside edge. A similar trick worked against Cheteshwar Pujara a few overs later. He then got rid of Virat Kohli with a wobble seam delivery to leave India 21 for 3. Anderson bowled eight overs at a trot and didn’t have to add another spell in the innings: the visitors folded for 78, and England went on win innings.

Tim Southee
5 for 69 vs India
first test, Kanpur

On a low and slow Kanpur surface, Southee showed great perseverance, skill and accuracy to help India bowl for 345. He took his first wicket – Pujara, sliding behind – with a somewhat old ball swinging in reverse. With the second new ball, in a single, miserly 13 overs span over two days, Southee Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel won. That kept India from posting an impressive first-inning total of the kind they usually do at home. In the end, New Zealand held on to a draw at the skin of their teeth.

Ajaz Patel
10 for 119 vs India
second test, Mumbai

Playing in his former home town, Ajaz became only the third bowler in Test cricket history to take all ten wickets in an inning. He wasn’t very accurate to begin with, but continued to produce wicket-decreasing deliveries, including two in one to sack Pujara and Kohli for ducks. As the innings went on, his control over his line and length improved. He drove a total of 47.5 overs to knock out India for 325. His effort kept New Zealand in the hunt for a rare Test series win in India, but their batters were no match for the challenge.

Sajid Khan
8 for 42 vs Bangladesh
second test, Mirpur

With rain allowing only 63.2 overs in the first three days, a draw seemed the most likely outcome. On the fourth afternoon, Pakistan declared their first innings at 300 for 4, but the fading light meant they could only bowl 26 overs for the rest of the day. However, that was enough for Sajid to strike six times when the Bangladesh batters tried to attack him. They finished the day at 76 for 7 and on the final morning added just 11 more runs as Sajid took two more wickets to register Pakistan’s fourth best innings in Test cricket, enabling his side to force the follow-up. In the second inning, he took four more to give Pakistan an unlikely win.

Scott Boland
6 for 7 vs England
third test, Melbourne

Despite England’s horrific failure thus far, few expected to lose by one inning after conceding just an 82-run lead. Boland produced just that improbable result on his debut, destroying them by six wickets in just four overs. On the first change he hit quite a bit around the stump and sent Haseeb Hameed and night watchman Jack Leach back in his only over on the second night. The next morning, he sent Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root away in short order, producing a two-wicket left (Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson) to ensure Australia sealed the Ashes in the third Test.

Mohammed Shami
5 for 44 vs South Africa
first Test, Centurion

A performance that helped India break through the fortress of South Africa. When Jasprit Bumrah went off the field after spraining his ankle early in South Africa’s first innings, Shami had to take the extra burden. He did it with confidence, moving the ball either way from the seam to pick up five wickets. Keegan Petersen shoved a nip backer in on his punches, and Aiden Markram lost his punch to one that zoomed away. The other three – Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder and Kagiso Rabada – were left behind. It gave India a 130 lead in the first innings, turning it into a Test victory.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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