The mind and might of Jasprit Bumrah

back icon
07 Sep 2021 | 12:02 AM
authorShubh Aggarwal

The mind and might of Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah finds answers on an unresponsive pitch to cause England's undoing

“The pitch is too flat”, assessed the cricket pundits as an advantage to England, giving the hosts a fair chance to produce a record run chase at The Oval. Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence echoed those sentiments.

For Jasprit Bumrah, arguably the only three-format pacer in world cricket at present, it took only a six-over spell to break the game in India’s favour. 

He also found apt support from the others. Shardul Thakur broke the opening stand with an inch-perfect delivery. Ravindra Jadeja scuffed up the ball by landing it in the rough. Mohammad Siraj and Umesh Yadav, consequently, found a hint of reverse swing in the last quarter of the morning session. 

But England were still doing okay. They had their guardian angel with the bat, Joe Root still in the middle. He reverse swept Jadeja on his first ball after lunch as if he was stating that he can’t keep pitching the ball there. Jadeja responded by spinning one past Haseeb Hameed’s outside edge to hit his off stump. England were three down. Their chances of a win had faded but a draw was still a likely outcome - 43 percent according to Criclytics. 

An over prior to Hameed’s dismissal, Bumrah had returned to the attack. Not a lot happened in that over, nor in his following one, except that they had the commentators talking about reverse swing again. By then, Bumrah had merely given a clue of his plans. He was going to enhance the movement with his brisk pace. England had no idea what was going to hit them. 

“You have to watch out for the inswinger. He bowls it brilliantly. Nag away, nag away and then bowl with an extra half yard of pace. WAQAR YOUNIS STYLE”, said Michael Atherton a ball before Ollie Pope’s dismissal in the third over of Bumrah’s spell. 

It was 143 kmph in speed, bowled a touch wide of the crease and angled in to go through Pope’s defence. The right-hander had defended the previous ball, a similar delivery with ease, putting him under an illusion that everything is fine. Next delivery, with a subtle change of the angle and cranking up his pace, Bumrah woke up the sleeping beauty that was the pitch at The Oval. You don’t get proper batsmen out like that on this pitch. 

No England pacer bowled an opposition batsmen in this Test. No Indian pacer went through the defence of an England batsman in the last four days. And here he was, Jasprit Bumrah cutting a specialist batsman into two halves, on a track where he had himself played an astonishing off-drive 24 hours ago.

Jonny Bairstow was in his teens when Waqar Younis wrecked England at the same venue in 1992 and 1996. On Day 5, Bumrah gave him a first hand experience of what it must be like facing him, clattering an inswinging yorker in his stumps. It was a four-ball knock where you could almost feel bad for Bairstow. Why? The below graphic tells the story. 

On the scorecard, Bumrah bagged only two wickets but it was him who broke the back of England’s effort. Watching this mastery from the non-striker’s end, Root took it upon himself to see through the rest of the Bumrah spell, which ended with figures usually seen in a tennis game: 6-3-6-2. 

Ravi Shastri, the head coach, was not at the ground, having returned positive Covid tests. Bumrah’s spell, however, stood for Shastri’s symbolic presence by ‘taking the pitch out of the equation’. He bowled four yorkers after all and made the ball dance to his tunes on the impressive cluster in the good length area. 

However, this is not the only example of Bumrah raising his game to the need of the hour. At Lord’s, when England were rekindling the hopes of a draw through an elongated eighth-wicket stand, he put an end to Ollie Robinson’s resistance with a genius slower one. If that delivery was a person, it won’t scare you. But from the psychological context, it was a brutal delivery as it flummoxed the batsman when he least expected it. Meanwhile, do you remember this delivery to Shaun Marsh?

It is this combination of mind and might that has rendered him the most effective Indian bowler in the series. 

No wonder he has dismissed Root thrice, the most an Indian pacer has accounted for his wicket this series. The most important of these dismissals came in the Lord’s Test. Bumrah went wide of the crease again but on that occasion, instead of bringing the ball in as he did at The Oval, he got it to straighten to find the outside edge of Root’s bat. 

The first innings of this Lord’s Test is the only occasion when Bumrah went wicketless in this series. But even there, he provoked England into something that compromised their sense of judgement. Yes, he lost the plot a little with three no-balls in that over but the frown on James Anderson’s face suggested England didn’t want to face him. 

At The Oval in the second innings, Bumrah was the difference between the two pace attacks. England have the best proponent of swing bowling. They have the Test bowler with the third-highest release point in the world. But when the conditions are flat, only Bumrah can produce the kind of magic that he did to lift India 2-1 up in the series. 

shareGray Share
England vs IndiaIndia tour of England, 2021IndiaEnglandJasprit BumrahJoe RootVirat KohliShardul ThakurRavindra Jadeja

Related Articles

We never lost belief despite falling behind on the very first day: Bumrah
The speedster revealed that the team were unbothered by outside noise, shutting it down completely staff
07 Sep 2021
Spirited bowlers lift India to an unassailable 2-1 lead
Bumrah and co. transformed a position of all three results possible into an emphatic 157-run victory staff
06 Sep 2021
Bumrah and Umesh showed pretty good control - Holding
India bundled England out for 289, conceding a 99-run lead thanks to a late Chris Woakes onslaught staff
04 Sep 2021
India's lower-order script a magical turnaround with bat and ball to take India 1-0 up
A rattled England lost the plot earlier in the day and imploded under India's collective counterattack staff
16 Aug 2021
Bairstow lavishes praise on 'world-class' Bumrah
England's wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow praised Jasprit Bumrah for his skills that make him a threat across all three formats
10 Aug 2021
Rain denies India shot at victory
The Virat Kohli-led side needed 157 runs and still had nine wickets in hand staff
08 Aug 2021
Bumrah puts India in a commanding position despite Root's hundred
India need 157 runs on the final day to take a 1-0 lead in the series and have nine wickets in hand
userHardik Worah
07 Aug 2021
Bumrah, Shami prove their mettle in style
The two shared seven wickets between them as England were bowled out for just 183
userHardik Worah
04 Aug 2021
Jasprit Bumrah - India's 'unorthodox' gem
The ace paceman has taken the most number of wickets in away Tests since 2018
userHardik Worah
14 Jun 2021
Bumrah - a generation’s dream now a superhuman reality
The pacer’s ability to be a quick learner has turned him into a force to be reckoned with
userSomesh Agarwal
29 Aug 2019
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
@ 2020 | All rights reserved