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Bumrah, Ashwin lift India to level the series

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Last updated on 05 Feb 2024 | 01:44 PM
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Bumrah, Ashwin lift India to level the series

R. Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah shared six wickets between them to help India level the series 1-1

The scores are settled in Visakhapatnam. The day started with both results possible. No side had chased 399 in India before to win a Test. On the other hand, the pitch had not deteriorated enough to count England out. 

The Three Lions came out all guns blazing. They scored 127 runs in the first session. However, they also lost wickets consistently. When England required a big innings from Joe Root, the former captain only played a cameo and possibly the worst shot of his Test career to get out. 

England were still in the hunt but two quick wickets 10 minutes before Lunch threw them off the track. Later, Ben Stokes run out sealed their fate as India clinched a 106-run win to level the series 1-1. 

It was a victory pulled off at the back of Jasprit Bumrah largely and Shubman Gill and Yashavi Jaiswal with the bat. Kudos to England for another great effort. On that note, here are some of the major highlights of Day 4, barring a couple of doubtful LBW calls on DRS: 

BOOM, BOOM, BUMRAH!!

Jasprit Bumrah now has 29 wickets in India in six Tests at 13.9 runs apiece. The sample size is low but among pacers who have picked 20 wickets in India or more, his average of 13.1 is the best, followed by Alan Davidson’s 15.8, Australia’s all-rounder in the 1950s/60s. 

The 30-year old was the difference between the two sides with the ball. His 6-wicket haul broke England’s back in the first innings. In the second, he struck whenever India needed a wicket. Each of his wickets left an impact - Jonny Bairstow at the stroke of lunch, Ben Foakes when the wicketkeeper-batter had a 55-run stand with Tom Hartley and then Hartley to finish the game. 

Bumrah had match figures of 33.1-9-91-9 at an economy rate of 2.7. The other bowlers combined went at 92-6-433-10 at an economy of 4.7. No other bowler could keep their economy under 3. Fair to say, without Bumrah, India would have found themselves in deep waters. 

Crawley's judgement against Bumrah

Zak Crawley has faced 92 balls from Bumrah in this series, the most by any England batter and has the third-lowest false shot percentage (19.5%) against the seamer. 

Crawley was England’s best batter in Vizag and to his credit, he has played Bumrah better than anyone else in the series. In the 2021 series when India toured England, Bumrah nabbed Crawley thrice for 29 runs. This series, the opener has kept Bumrah at bay, scoring 47 runs off 92 balls without losing his wicket even once. 

The trick lies behind two reasons. Firstly, Crawley has shouldered arms to Bumrah with a judicious judgement of his off stump. In 2021, two of Crawley’s dismissals against Bumrah came in the region marginally outside the off-stump. 

Secondly, Bumrah has been more effective with the older ball, ie his second spell onwards. Being an opener, Crawley hasn’t had to face Bumrah bowling reverse swing much. Only once in four innings, has he faced the right-armer beyond the 20th over mark. Being a quick scorer has helped him to get himself to a significant score before Bumrah arrives with the older ball. 

Ashwin back among wickets

Ravichandran Ashwin had a forgettable first innings, bowling 12 overs without a wicket while going for 61 runs. It was the first instance in over 10 years when Ashwin went wicketless in a home Test while conceding at over 5 runs per over. 

As pointed out here, he was too full in the first innings. Ashwin corrected it in the second innings and reaped rewards, picking 3/72 in 18 overs. In the first innings, he bowled nearly 33% deliveries in the full length region. He pulled it back to 11% in the second innings. 

All of Ashwin’s three wickets came from the good length region. In home Tests, Ashwin now has 279 wickets while bowling at good length at an astonishing average of only 15.3 runs per wicket. 

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