Perhaps the best-known of Mohammad Amir’s great first overs have come in T20 cricket, but on Friday he made a fine addition to the genre, in Tests.
Bowling from the members end at Seddon Park, Amir found Jeet Raval’s outside edge with the first ball of the match, with the deflection skimming away between the slips and gully. The next ball beat the edge, and the terrific short-of-a-length away-seamer that followed should have got Raval out, but Sami Aslam botched a low catch at first slip. He attempted to trap it between his wrists, but only managed to fend it onto his boot before it fell to the turf.
The ball to follow was perhaps the best of the lot – Raval getting nowhere near it as Amir pitched full and seamed it away again, missing the off stump by a few centimetres. When Raval took a single off the next ball, which straightened onto his pads, Tom Latham took guard, but only lasted one ball. Amir straightened another ball on a good length, just outside off stump. This time Aslam snared the outside edge and gave the bowler some reward for an over that deserved at least two wickets.
Though he continued to bowl outstanding deliveries through a six-over spell that yielded 1 for 15, Amir was not as consistently menacing thereafter. His first over in Hamilton brought to mind the sublime wicket-maiden in the 2009 World T20 final, in which he dismissed player-of-the-tournament Tillakaratne Dilshan and set the tone for the game. It was also reminiscent of the first over against India in the 2016 Asia Cup, when Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed inside four balls.