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Bumrah takes six wickets as ferocious India leave England trailing in second Test





Despite growing up in a country of princely batters and wily spinners, it was only ever fast bowling that interested Jasprit Bumrah. And not just any kind of fast bowling. Bumrah, a telly addict as a kid, said before this series that he was fascinated by the quicks who could send stumps cartwheeling out of the ground with the yorker.

One suspects a good few others may have been converted watching a compelling second day of this second Test in Visakhapatnam when, at 1.45pm local time, Bumrah took to Ollie Pope’s stumps like a lumberjack. Middle stump jagged left, leg stump flew right, leaving off stump standing there all alone. Pope’s feet were briefly in a different postcode, his bat on the floor, as Bumrah raced past him in sheer delight.


It was the zing bail-exploding highlight of a day when Bumrah reverse-swung the force firmly in India’s favour and made 1-1 the likeliest outcome heading into next week’s first break.

he hosts were batting again by the close, a first-innings lead of 143 having swollen by 28 runs without loss. Bumrah was feet-up in the dressing room during a late flurry of boundaries, that smile still beaming about the figures of six for 45 from 15.5 overs that had sent England careening to 253 all out.


Kuldeep Yadav would probably like a word here, the left-arm wrist spinner with the Harry Houdini haircut having picked the lock of England’s bright start – Ben Duckett caught off the shoulder of the blade at silly point – and finished with three for 71. Playing in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, Yadav’s array of low-slung gyroscopic fizzers from that rarely seen angle was certainly a point of difference during this cascading collapse.

But there was no usurping India’s headline unorthodox act, Bumrah’s whip-crack action sending the ball snaking this way and that either side of tea and lacking any known anti-venom. This was the 30-year-old’s second five-wicket haul in what is remarkably just his sixth Test at home, the best of which – though less jaw-dropping than Pope’s demise for 23 – being the working over of Joe Root that ended with an outfoxed nibble to slip on five.

England had been feeling pretty chipper before all this. Jimmy Anderson crisply helped as the visitors nipped out the last four India wickets before lunch, some early grumpiness at Ravichandran Ashwin for his position at the non-striker’s end eased by figures of three for 47. Though Yashasvi Jaiswal turned his sparkling overnight 179 into 209 – a maiden double for this elegant young left-hander, celebrated like Jude Bellingham – India, 396 all out after resuming on 336 for six, had many wondering if they were still light.


Such thoughts only continued when the tourists raced to 110 for one in 22 overs by the afternoon drinks, Zak Crawley having purred his way to 76 in a bevy of punched straight drives and two slog-swept sixes.

But once he skewed Axar Patel’s third delivery after the restart high to backward point, the emergence of Root, with the ball having already started to move late for the seamer Mukesh Kumar, led Rohit Sharma to whistle for Bumrah.

First went Root, his front pad probed à la Hyderabad before the one that moved away. Then came the most alarming demise of a Pope since John VIII was poisoned and strangled by his clerics back in the ninth century. This was the yorker Bumrah honed as a child while aiming for the skirting boards at home and trying not to wake his sleeping mother, not that anyone could have dozed through the noise that met this one.


Having just about dug out a repeat, Jonny Bairstow looked relatively assured en route to 25 as he and Ben Stokes took England to 155 for four at tea. But once Bumrah returned refreshed he soon teased another edge to slip from a Yorkshireman, once again underlining the secondary threat that thoughts of his trademark ball can induce.

As the crowd erupted once more, Stokes could be seen grimacing at the other end, the crows feet soon deepening further as Yadav fiddled out two more. Ben Foakes played around one to be bowled for six and Rehan Ahmed tamely toe-ended to midwicket for the same score. Yadav’s threat looks likely to increase once India have set the fourth innings equation, with inconsistent bounce this pitch’s likeliest threat.

It was what did for Stokes, Bumrah’s fourth and final burst terminating a defiant 47. For the second time this series, leaving the England captain visibly asking: “What could I do?”, a low one pegged back off stump. It was a question his lower-order colleagues were never going to be able to answer sufficiently, Tom Hartley’s punchy 21 another to be ended at slip and Anderson pinned in front lbw by the inswinger.

All that was left was for Sharma and Jaiswal to compound the situation, Anderson once again strapping on the bowling boots with little respite to speak of.

England wriggled free from a greater first-innings deficit in the first Test and Crawley was speaking this language after stumps. Deciphering the way Bumrah gets a reverse-swinging cricket ball to talk remains a significant issue, however.


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