Jasprit Bumrah has proved to be a revelation for team India in the recent times. Not only has he challenged the taboo of India being a batsman oriented nation, but he has broken through the ranks in remarkable fashion.
Coming in as the ideal T20I bowler for India, mainly due to his ability to exhibit the yorker length with great ease, it seemed like Bumrah would be the flag bearer of T20 bowling for India.
But fate had a different say for the young fast bowler, as he kept testing his limit and took a step further by gewtting inducted in the ODI format, until last year his dream was fulfilled by making a debut in the whites for the longest format of the game, in early 2018. It all started with his tour to South Africa where he threatened quite a few batsmen with his sheer pace and unconventional action which awarded him wickets, he continued in his own merry way on his tour to England, and his best was finally unleashed in the Test series versus Australia, where he made the most of quick and pacey wickets.
Bumrah’s most memorable spell came in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG where India and Australia were on level terms in the series. It was India who scored a competitive first innings total of 443, courtesy yet another brilliant hundred by Cheteshwar Pujara.
The Aussies had quite a task laid in front of them as they had to overhaul the Indian total while facing a formidable pace bowling unit with Jasprit Bumrah looking ever so dangerous.
The newbie Marcus Harris was welcomed in the series with lusty bouncers which struck the helmet a couple of times by Bumrah, and stunned Harris on a significant number of times.
Harris had now decided to counter the short ball by offering the pull, instead of just ducking. Aware of the discomfort that Marcus Harris faces with the shortish deliveries, Bumrah banged another one on the hard Melbourne deck. The left hand batsman ready for the delivery, was quick to go for the pull, but unfortunately for Harris, the ball was too fast for him as it got connected to his top edge, and traveled straight to Ishant Sharma standing at fine leg for an easy take.
Australia’s woes with the opening slot carried on as Finch and Harris both were dismissed with the score under 40. The prior had got dismissed by a sharp catch taken by Mayank Agarwal standing on short leg, courtesy Ishant Sharma.
Usman Khawaja was the next man to walk back as Ravindra Jadeja got him out bat-pad for another catch taken by debutant Agarwal.
One of Australia’s veterans in the batting line-up, Shaun Marsh was in and battling it out, trying to show some resistance after blocking a number of balls. Marsh’s plan to block and leave the ball was doing fairly well as he faced 60 odd deliveries for his 19, with the Kangaroos in need of a big partnership post lunch.
Jasprit Bumrah was brought in by Captain Kohli to ball the last over before lunch, as he kept it tight in the five balls that he bowled. One last ball had to be delivered before the umpires called for lunch, and that’s when Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah came up with a sneaky plan.
Bumrah ran in with a few hops to his run up like he usually does, locked and loaded himself, and unleashed a yorker which none of the batsman could have possibly predicted, especially in Test match cricket, as it was bowled at a staggering slow pace of 113 kmph. The red leather eventually went on to strike the front pad of Shaun Marsh, who unsurprisingly went early for the short, and was given out LBW by the umpire, as the batsman was in disbelief.
Bumrah and rest of the Indian team were overwhelmed and in awe after seeing an execution at its finest, and by ending the session on a high, after getting 4 wickets of the hosts, which included the big wicket of Shaun Marsh on a ball which may be considered as one of the ball’s of 2018.
Australia had a big mountain to climb, as they had to face the Baroda based bowler who was in top form. One of Australia’s leading run scorers in the series – Travis Head looked to be settled in on 20, as he was expected to display a fight for the hosts. But when in need of a wicket, Virat Kohli does what must be done, and calls his go-to-guy, Jasprit Bumrah who this time generates more heat and more pace on the ball while bending his back on the hard MCG wicket at a pace of 143kmph, and the ball zips back in from around the wicket, while going through Head’s attempted shot and strikes the middle stump for another wicket for Bumrah, Kohli, and Team India.
The fired up Bumrah was acknowledged by his mates, and was given the thumbs up to run through the final few Australian wickets.
The Aussie captain Tim Paine did his best to add the runs and stop the nation down under from suffocating from the wrath of the Indian bowlers, and particularly Bumrah.
The final recognized batsman in the sense of Tim Paine did face 85 balls for his hard earned 22. It looked like another batsman was ready to get set for Australia, but Jasprit Bumrah’s knack of taking wickets at crucial intervals didn’t end there, with him bowling a short of a good length delivery to the wicket keeper batsman, which Paine tried to guide towards third man, but could only manage to edge the ball due to the sheer pace generated on it, for a comfortable catch taken by Rishabh Pant.
The Australian tail had wagged before in the series, and quite a few expected the same to happen this time around as well. It was a challenging task for Lyon and Hazlewood as Jasprit Bumrah was breathing fire for the Indians, as he rushed into ball another ‘jafa,’ to Australia’s front line spinner Nathan Lyon who got yorked at an express fast delivery of 146kmph.
A fifer in South Africa, a fifer in England, and now a fifer in Australia in a single calendar year for the 25 year old pacer. A feat which not many could have achieved.
Jasprit Bumrah was eager for one more, and he was successful yet again, after bowling a ‘Jasprit Bumrah’ yorker to the number 11 batsman – Josh Hazlewood who tried flicking the ball, but the red cherry struck his pads, and deflected onto the wickets for his sixth and Australia’s final wicket, as they had got bundled out for a meager 151 runs.
The Australians had got a taste of their own medicine from Bumrah, who earlier dominated in their own nation from extremely quick bowlers from the likes of the Lillees, the Thomsons, and the Lees.
Jasprit Bumrah’s unforgettable spell of 6 for 33 provided Team India with a massive lead which India were later fruitful of as they won the Boxing Day Test by 137 runs, which was also pivotal for Virat Kohli as he claimed the Border Gavaskar Trophy and won a series in Australia for India after a drought of 70 odd years.
About the Author
Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.