The 2018 Test series between India and South Africa was seen as the start of Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri’s efforts to reverse the team’s reputation as a bad traveler in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) nations. The fact that India entered the series with three dangerous fast bowlers—Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah—who made their Test debut in the series—made the series crucial in many ways.

The three-match series was fiercely contested, but South Africa prevailed by a score of 2-0. The middle order of South Africa, which included players like AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, and captain Faf du Plessis, helped the country reach respectable totals while the Indians routinely managed to cut through their top order, caused the Indians to stumble in the face of bowlers like Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Dale Steyn, who only participated in the first innings of the first Test.

But in the third Test, India took control and triumphed by 63 runs in Johannesburg on a dangerous surface. Bhuvneshwar was named player of the match for his all-around efforts, but Shami, who had been pounded all over the field in the first innings, was responsible for India’s triumph against South Africa with five wickets in the second innings.

We misplaced Cape Town. We were unable to find 208, which was absurd. Then we lost Centurion, a game we also ought to have won and in which we may have been 2-0 ahead or, at the very least, 1-1. In his book “Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team,” Sridhar writes, “We did the unimaginable by electing to bat since we believed the circumstances would only worsen for batting as the game went on. We had already given up the series before we traveled to Johannesburg. Shami did not play in the first innings, in which he went for 46 runs from 12 overs. On the fourth day, he was once again relatively unnoticeable until tea, at which point South Africa seemed to be in the lead. When the boys arrived for a tea break, they had achieved 136/3 out of 241, their goal.

Shami seemed “disinterested” on the fourth day when he returned for tea, according to Sridhar’s memory. With only a 119-run partnership between Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla remaining in their chase of a 241-run mark, South Africa was at 136/3, and Bumrah had just dismissed the dangerous de Villiers for a score of just one. As he entered and after filling his plate with rice and mutton curry for lunch, Shami wore a bored expression. Ravi looked at the bowler’s plate at the first break and then yelled at Shami. Bloody hell, are you going to finish your food right now or are you going to save some for wickets as well? he yelled.

Shami murmured, “Haan, haan, yahan bhi kha lunga, udhar bhi kha lunga (Yes, yes, I will ear here and I will eat there too)” in his characteristically laconic, laid-back style.