Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
Johannesburg: There was a lot of talk about how Zaheer Khan would have to play a crucial role against South Africa, even before the series kicked off. And the left-arm pacer, has lived up to the expectations of MS Dhoni and the selectors with a brilliant show in the first Test match.
Zaheer, who was playing for the country after Decemeber 2012, after he was dropped from the squad following a poor show against the touring England team, left no stone unturned in showing why he deserves to play regularly at the highest level of the game.
The 35-year-old was extremely unlucky in the first innings where Proteas batsmen clearly had problems batting against him. South African skipper Graeme Smith, even though went onto to score a half-century, but he once again had a tough time batting against Zaheer and was even dropped at first slip by Ashwin. But Zaheer Khan won the battle towards the end as he trapped Smith in front of the wicket.
Zaheer Khan picked just one wicket on the second day of the Test match. The eight-wicket partnership between Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis was bothering Team India and once again Zaheer Khan bowled a brilliant spell in the morning session of day 3 where he scalped three out of the remaining four Proteas wickets to bowl them out for just 246 runs, 36 short of India’s first innings total.
It has been an incredible comeback from the veteran Indian bowler and the hard work he has put in the last six months or so, has clearly paid off.