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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2021 Test bowling nominees: Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel and Kyle Jamieson make it New Zealand's year

Five-fors, six-fors and a ten-for feature on our shortlist

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
Hasan Ali lets out a roar after sending back Aiden Markram, Pakistan vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Rawalpindi, 5th day, February 8, 2021

Hasan Ali took the wickets of Rassie van der Dussen and Geroge Linde twice in the Rawalpindi Test  •  AFP via Getty Images

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

The second Test into his comeback, Hasan picked up 5 for 54 in South Africa's first dig. He was to torment them again in the second innings. Chasing 370, South Africa had reached 127 for 1 before his induckers accounted for Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis. South Africa managed to recover to 241 for 3 but he dented them once more, dismissing century-maker Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock off successive deliveries. A few overs later he removed George Linde to end South Africa's hopes and complete his maiden 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 were relying heavily on Southee with the ball, and he didn't disappoint. After debutant Devon Conway's double-hundred steered New Zealand to 378, Southee removed Zak Crawley cheaply before tea on day two. Rain washed out the next day but Southee came back roaring on the fourth morning. Swinging the ball both ways, he gobbled up England's middle order, reducing them to 140 for 6. Ollie Robinson's top-edged pull handed Southee a five-for, and later he had top scorer Rory Burns caught behind to wrap up the innings. New Zealand got a 103-run lead but there wasn't enough time left for an outright result.
Kyle Jamieson
5 for 31 vs India
World Test Championship final, Southampton

Playing only in his eighth Test, Jamieson rose to the occasion to give New Zealand the upper hand in the WTC final. He started by dismissing Rohit Sharma to break the 62-run opening stand, and then, when India were recovering from 88 for 3, 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 either the stumps or the outside edge. Shortly afterwards, he got Rishabh Pant slashing to second slip, and then went on to take two tail-end wickets to get India all out for 217.
Shaheen Afridi
6 for 51 vs West Indies
second Test, Kingston

Close to two days of the Test were lost to rain and bad light. That Pakistan still came out with a win was because of Afridi. After Pakistan declared their first innings on 302 for 9, he showed off his range. A full, inswinging delivery to castle Kraigg Brathwaite. Kieran Powell trapped in front with one that straightened after pitching. Alzarri Joseph caught in the slips off one that slanted across him. A snorter that had Jermaine Blackwood fending to gully. Afridi's career-best figures had West Indies all out for 150, which resulted in a tall total for them to chase in the fourth innings and they didn't come close to it.
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 bounce out India's tailenders. But this was a masterclass in controlled swing bowling. In the first over of the match, Anderson bowled three inswingers to KL Rahul before taking one away, inducing an outside edge. A similar ploy worked against Cheteshwar Pujara a few overs later. Then he got rid of Virat Kohli with a wobble-seam delivery to leave India 21 for 3. Anderson bowled eight overs on the trot and wasn't required to contribute another spell in the innings: the visitors folded for 78, and England went on to win by an innings.
Tim Southee
5 for 69 vs India
first Test, Kanpur

On a low and slow Kanpur surface, Southee displayed great perseverance, skill and accuracy to help bowl India out for 345. He got his first wicket - Pujara, edging behind - with a slightly old, reverse-swinging ball. With the second new ball, in a single, miserly spell of 13 overs split across two days, Southee prised out Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel. That stopped India from posting an imposing first-innings total of the sort they usually do at home. In the end, New Zealand held on for a draw by the skin of their teeth.
Ajaz Patel
10 for 119 vs India
second Test, Mumbai

Playing in his erstwhile home town, Ajaz became only the third bowler in the history of Test cricket to take all ten wickets in an innings. He wasn't very accurate to start with but kept producing wicket-taking deliveries, including two in one over to dismiss Pujara and Kohli for ducks. As the innings progressed, his control over his line and length improved. He wheeled away for 47.5 overs in all to bowl India out for 325. His effort kept New Zealand in the hunt for a rare Test series win in India but their batters weren't up to the challenge.
Sajid Khan
8 for 42 vs Bangladesh
second Test, Mirpur

When rain allowed only 63.2 overs across the first three days, a draw seemed the likeliest result. On the fourth afternoon, Pakistan declared their first innings on 300 for 4, but fading light meant they could bowl only 26 overs through the rest of the day. That, however, was enough for Sajid to strike six times as the Bangladesh batters tried to attack him. They finished the day on 76 for 7 and on the final morning added only another 11 runs as Sajid picked up two more wickets, registering the fourth-best innings figures for Pakistan in Test cricket, allowing his side to enforce the follow-on. In the second innings, he took another four to give Pakistan an improbable win.
Scott Boland
6 for 7 vs England
third Test, Melbourne

Despite England's abject failure until then, few would have expected them to lose by an innings after having conceded only an 82-run lead. Boland, on debut, produced precisely that unlikely result, wrecking them with six wickets in just four overs. Coming on first change, he hit a good length around off stump, sending back Haseeb Hameed and nightwatchman Jack Leach in his only over on the second evening. The next morning he dismissed Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root in short order, and produced another two-wicket over (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 breach South Africa's fortress. When Jasprit Bumrah went off the field after twisting his ankle early in South Africa's first innings, Shami had to shoulder the extra load. He did it with aplomb, moving the ball both ways off the seam to pick up five wickets. Keegan Petersen inside-edged a nip-backer onto his stumps, and Aiden Markram lost his off stump to one that seamed away. The other three - Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder and Kagiso Rabada - were caught behind. It gave India a first-innings lead of 130, which they converted into a Test win.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo