Skipper Jasprit Bumrah held sway with a mesmerizing all round performance, including a world record batting performance and a sharp spell with the ball as India took full control of England on a rainy second day of the rescheduled fifth Test here on Saturday. Bumrah’s all-round show (31 from 16 balls and 3/35) in his first appearance as India captain was such that it easily overshadowed Ravindra Jadeja’s superbly constructed third Test hundred which took India to an impressive first innings score of 416.
England had all sorts of problems with half the team back in the pavilion with the scoreboard reading a sorry 84 for 5 with the hosts 332 runs behind the visitors. In the first session, Stuart Broad must have had some ‘deja vu’ feeling as he was literally slaughtered by the stand-in Indian captain, who scored 29 runs with the willow and also got six extra runs to make it 35, highest ever in a single over in Test cricket.
In his first game at the helm as captain, Bumrah never imagined he would beat Brian Lara’s maximum runs (28 runs) in a single test match, which remained intact for 18 years. However, George Bailey and Keshav Maharaj had matched the feat.
Broad cannot be blamed if he recalled that night in Durban in September 2007, when Yuvraj Singh handed him six sixes each. He got his 550th Test wicket that day, but by the end of it all, Bumrah had wiped that wry smile from his face.
When England came to bat, the skipper had warmed up nicely and cast a menacing first spell and for a change he was rewarded for even putting his “foot wrong” twice, resulting in extra deliveries netting him a few wickets.
After two days of play, India had all the cards in their hands and looks set to retain the Pataudi Trophy and remain in contention for a place in the World Test Championship final.
While India plays a Test series against Bangladesh in December, the second day in Edgbaston may have given India a realistic long-term captaincy in traditional format when Rohit Sharma decides to dedicate time to his test career.
Bumrah was good with his bowling changes, field placements and also DRS call from his own bowling. All in all a complete package available.
India’s ‘MVP’ Jadeja
At the start of the day, Jadeja confirmed his status as India’s most valuable player across all formats, as he scored his best Test hundred — 104 from 194 balls.
This century, however, was of a much better quality than his previous two, especially when one considers the circumstances, the match situation and the quality of the opponent’s bowling.
Jadeja hit 13 limits and his nearly four and a half hour stay in the fold gave Pant the chance to play his natural attacking game even as the first defended relentlessly as and when needed.
A spirited drive through the coverage area earned him his third century, four months after he got the second in Mohali.
Jadeja has already scored 2,500 runs in Test cricket in addition to taking 242 wickets, and can safely be called the best all-rounder the Indian team has had since the great Kapil Dev.
A batting average of 37 plus is better than many specialists who have played for India over the years.
The ‘Boom Boom’ Show
Bumrah used the bat like a sword and even the top edges looked like the ball hit the sweet spot as four boundaries and two sixes from Broad’s came over. There were hooks, pulls and drives to captivate the crowd.
The Indian captain even gave the hosts a dose of ‘Bazball’ (Brendon McCullum’s attacking philosophy), which had become a trending lingo in English cricket in recent weeks.
While the century of Rishabh Pant and Jadeja’s third test barrel set the platform up, one cannot ignore the 93 runs India added with contributions from numbers 9, 10 and 11.
As far as England bowling goes, James Anderson (5/60), who is a month shy of turning 40, is still the personification of the class as he took his 32nd five-wicket haul in Test matches.
But 40 extra runs, including 14 no balls, are sure to haunt England in the long run.
English top order blow away
Once he came out to bowl, Bumrah already had the weaknesses of left-handed opener Alex Lees (6). He went around the wicket and got one to squeeze back slightly with the corner as it broke through the opener’s defense.
In the case of Zak Crawley (9), Bumrah threw a fuller delivery on the fourth off-stump and Crawley’s drive was picked up by Shubman Gill stationed on the third slip.
Likewise, after another rain break, he tested Ollie Pope (10) with another fuller delivery that was slightly wider and the extended ride only ended in the hands of Shreyas Iyer on the second slip.
But India saved their best for last when Mohammed Siraj got one that stood awkwardly upright with a wobbly seam as England’s best hitter Joe Root (31) could only get confused and Rishabh Pant punch a simple catch behind could offer. PTI KHS KHS ATK ATK
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