England’s Shoaib Bashir dedicates ‘special’ five-fer to late grandfathers

<span>Shoaib Bashir celebrates with a sajdah after taking his fifth wicket.</span><span>Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images</span>
Shoaib Bashir celebrates with a sajdah after taking his fifth wicket.Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Amid the wreckage of England’s third day in Ranchi there was still one bright story among the tourists to be told: Shoaib Bashir, just 20 years old, became their second-youngest bowler to claim a Test five-wicket haul and, needless to say, he was delighted about it.

The moment came on an otherwise frustrating morning for his colleagues, Bashir pinning Akash Deep lbw to follow his four wickets on day two. He celebrated with a sajdah on the outfield, the Islamic display of gratitude last performed by an England player when Rehan Ahmed (aged 18) claimed a five-wicket haul in Pakistan last winter.

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“It was a very special moment on my journey,” Bashir said, after India closed 40 runs into their fourth-innings target of 192 after a dramatic turnaround. “Two years ago I would never have dreamt anything like this could happen.

“It was quite emotional actually. I lost both my grandads around a year and a half ago and they used to just sit and watch Test cricket all the time. Their wish was to see me on TV and I know they’re supporting me from up above.”

Though England started their defence of the target with the ball poorly, the volatile pitch in Ranchi – one on which Ravichandran Ashwin conjured up his 25th five-wicket hauls in Tests – meant they could not be completely discounted.

Certainly Bashir was not ready to throw in the towel, insisting he and Tom Hartley, two young spinners emboldened by the captaincy of Ben Stokes, could yet deliver a twist.

Bashir said: “Stokesy and the boys are incredible. They give you so much confidence in anything you do. If that’s me going out to bowl or bat, they’re so good. I know tomorrow I have a job to do and me and Tommy are really excited for the challenge.

“We saw how [Ravichandran] Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja bowled on that wicket and we take huge confidence from that. I used to watch these guys when I was a bit younger and they’re world-class spinners. We know us two lads are up against a world-class [team] but we’ve got a chance to be heroes.”