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Bumrah, Kuldeep impress; Ashwin raises concern

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Last updated on 03 Feb 2024 | 02:11 PM
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Bumrah, Kuldeep impress; Ashwin raises concern

Jasprit Bumrah's reverse swing masterclass stormed India into the game after a slow start for the hosts

The second day of the Visakhapatnam Test belonged to India, or you can say one man, i.e. Jasprit Bumrah

England were in the game until the drinks break during the afternoon session. They had achieved their first objective in the morning by bundling out India for 396. Zak Crawley’s 76 powered them to 110/1 at drinks after Lunch. Then Shreyas Iyer took a brilliant catch to send Crawley back, and things changed. 

Bumrah came into the attack to target Joe Root and then went through the rest of the batting lineup with his 6/45. From 110/1, England were bowled out for 253, conceding a lead of 153 runs. Bumrah single-handedly made it India's day. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma, staying unbeaten at stumps, extended the lead to 181. While England have a lot of work to do tomorrow, we look back at the major highlights of the day.

Bumrah vs Root, a contest for ages

Jasprit Bumrah vs Joe Root in Tests: Innings 20, Runs 245, Dismissals 8, Average 30.6

In India, Bumrah has dismissed Root thrice in five innings at only 15 runs/wicket.

Most of Root's dismissals against Bumrah are from the same length. Good length outside the off stump. Either Bumrah moves the ball in or moves it away. As a result, Bumrah has had Root caught behind the wicket four times (thrice in slips and once by the keeper) when he has moved the ball away and other four times keeping it in line with the stumps (three LBWs and one bowled) when he has moved it in.

Total mastery and dominance from Bumrah over one of the finest Test batters of this generation.

Wicketless Ashwin

The last time Ravichandran Ashwin went wicketless in a home Test was against Bangladesh in Kolkata in 2019. That was a day-night Test, and Ashwin got to bowl only five overs in the entire Test as the Indian seamer ran riot over the Bangladesh batters. Besides that, Ashwin also went at an economy rate of 5.1, conceding figures of 0/61 in 12 overs. 

It is only the third time Ashwin has leaked runs at more than five an over in a home Test. The previous two occasions were in 2012 and 2013.

Crawley, with his big reach, neutralized Ashwin upfront, scoring 28 runs from 27 balls. Off full-length balls, Ashwin was hit for 25 runs from 23 balls. 

Overall, Ashwin has conceded 64 runs off 69 full-length deliveries in this series for only one wicket. 

Between 2022 and 2023, when Ashwin averaged 16.6 with the ball in home Tests, he bowled 13.5% of full-length deliveries. In this series, where he has averaged 42.5 with the ball, he has bowled 18.2% of balls in the full-length region. The off-spinner must pull his length back to regain his bite. 

Kuldeep impresses

Kuldeep Yadav had an impressive outing, playing his first Test since December 2022. He broke the 59-run opening partnership between Crawley and Ben Duckett. Duckett’s wicket itself was a clear sign of why Kuldeep’s selection was helpful. 

The wrist-spinners have generated extra bounce from this Vizag track through the extra revs they impart on the ball. Duckett was out the same way, with Kuldeep’s turning ball hitting the shoulder of the left-hander’s bat on its way to the silly point fielder. Kuldeep later dismissed Ben Foakes and Rehan Ahmed.

Given Ashwin and Mukesh were ineffective, and Axar Patel bowled only four overs, Kuldeep was the only other bowler Rohit trusted alongside Bumrah. Kuldeep bowled 17 overs, the most by an Indian bowler in the innings. 

Mukesh’s selection continues to baffle

Mukesh Kumar’s selection raised a few eyebrows at the toss. It was baffling because India used their second seamer, Mohammed Siraj, only for 11 overs out of the 166 overs they bowled in total in Hyderabad. Moreover, Washington Sundar was available to replace Ravindra Jadeja. Not only would he have been a good defensive off-spin bowling option, but his presence would have extended the batting depth as well. 

On Day 2, Mukesh was largely ineffective with the ball. He conceded 44 runs in his seven overs, consistently leaking boundaries. At 81.8%, he had the highest boundary percentage among all Indian bowlers. As a result, he only bowled seven out of the 55 overs India bowled in the first innings in Vizag. 

And fair to say, India missed a batter like Washington in the morning session where they scored only 60 runs at the cost of their remaining four wickets. 

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