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Boom Time: Bumrah’s mastery leaves England batting in tatters


In four pulsating overs of immense skill, immaculate control and constant threat, Jasprit Bumrah ripped out the heart, soul and body of England’s batting on way to his finest ODI bowling performance at The Oval on Tuesday. In 23 deliveries with a new ball on a greenish pitch under overcast skies, amid excellent carry and plenty of swing and seam, Bumrah blasted out Jason Roy, Joe Root and Liam Livingstone for ducks, and consumed Jonny Bairstow for 7.

He would come back to break England’s highest partnership of the innings – 35 for the ninth wicket between David Willey and Brydon Carse – to earn only his second ODI five-for. He would also end the England innings for just 110 to register his best international figures of 7.2-3-19-6, also the third-best by an Indian bowler in ODIs, behind Stuart Binny and Anil Kumble.

It was also the first time Bumrah had taken three or more wickets in an ODI since the 2019 World Cup in England, thus answering the call about India’s recent inability to strike with the new ball in this format, especially away from home.

At The Oval, it was Mohammed Shami who had bowled the first over after England were inserted, and while he tested Bairstow in patches, there was hardly any indication of the storm that was to come from the other end.

Jason Roy b Bumrah 0(5)

Three deliveries before he got Roy, Bumrah had begun the process of setting him up. Seeing that the ball was bending back in alarmingly, Bumrah shifted the line further and further away from Roy.

The first ball had rapped Roy on the pad but was heading down the legside. Bumrah kept the length full, but not overpitched, and nipped the next one in past the inside edge as Roy went for a booming drive. That ball almost shaved the off-stump.

The third of the series started the widest and the fullest, and an undaunted Roy saw the opportunity to get bat to ball and crunch a cover drive. Unfortunately for him, this swerved in late and took a fatal inside edge onto the stumps.

Joe Root c Pant b Bumrah 0(2)

That Root is in the form of his life was apparent from how well he played his first delivery – not committing early, allowing the ball to come on outside off, getting on top of the bounce and tapping it away gently. It was immediately pointed out by former India coach Ravi Shastri on air.

But the delivery that followed was too good even for Root. The threat of the ball coming in can make the ball going away doubly dangerous, and that is what happened. As the shortish delivery straightened and kicked away, Root followed it and nicked behind. ‘Bounce’, the former England captain muttered to non-striker Bairstow as he walked off.

Jonny Bairstow c Pant b Bumrah 7 (20)

Bumrah’s mini-battle with Bairstow was the most absorbing, also because it needed a slightly longer set-up than the two or three deliveries that the others had managed to last. With four hundreds in his previous three Test matches, including a century in each innings against India at Edgbaston last week, Bairstow is also enjoying the form of his life.

And to his credit, having seen the dismissals around him, he was now playing really late and close

to the body. Bumrah got to bowl to Bairstow for the first time in his second over. A couple of tight deliveries were played out quietly and a couple that moved in from a wider line were left alone. Then arrived the change-up; full into the pad but straightening against the angle. There was no way even Bairstow could have adjusted for that movement and in trying to clip to the legside, he got a leading edge. Fortunately for him, it went just right of the man at cover.

The examination stepped up another gear in Bumrah’s third over. He began with a nip-backer but Bairstow was confident enough to leave on length and sure enough, it sailed over the stumps.

Now the toying started. The next one reared up and moved the other way, leaving Bairstow feeling momentarily for the ball. Again, he hadn’t followed the line or gone poking too far outside off, but had pulled in his bat after the initial urge.

Done with setting up and examining and toying, Bumrah moved in for the knockout punch. Short of a length, neither coming in nor going out, in the same corridor close to off. Bairstow didn’t do much wrong; he offered a straight bat with soft hands inches from his chest. It was the same manner in which he had survived the previous one that had left him. But this one produced another outside edge, and another sharp, reflex take by Rishabh Pant.

Liam Livingstone b Bumrah 0(8)

Liam Livingstone likes to fight fire with fire. In the second T20I last Saturday at Edgbaston, at 11 for 2, he had walked down the track to his first ball and clipped Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the deep-midwicket boundary. Then Bumrah had produced some magic, an in-swinging beauty that burst through the gate, past the forward defence, and hit the top of off and middle.

At The Oval, Bumrah consistently stuck to the incoming delivery for Livingstone. One did so much it beat Pant’s dive and slipped for five wides down the legside. In between, all Livingstone could manage was to wear one on the thigh pad and squirt a couple back awkwardly. Then arrived the trap promising release. Full for the drive outside off, and Livingstone went for it, but it left him groping at air as the ball went out instead of in for a change.

Livingstone had had enough and brought out old faithful – the stroll down the turf. But this delivery swung so much that having begun to Livingstone’s right, it curled in across his body, his attempted flick, and crashed into leg-stump. According to Cricviz, no other Bumrah wicket-taking delivery has swung more in ODIs.

At 26 for 5 in the eighth over, with a new-ball display for the ages, across any format and any colour of ball, ‘Boom’ had torpedoed England in a few minutes of masterly mayhem.





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