Sports, Cricket

Jaiswal double, Bumrah six-for India on top

Published : 03 Feb 2024 09:35 PM

Ben Stokes' expression said it all. For the second time in as many first-innings counterattacks, all he could do was shrug his shoulders and marvel at the genius of the man who'd just had his measure, as Jasprit Bumrah cut short another spirited display from England's captain, to cap a performance that transcended the conditions that he'd been granted.

In the midst of India's surprise loss in Hyderabad, Bumrah's six wickets across two innings had been a warning as to where the true threat in India's attack would lie. So it proved at Visakhapatnam on what had been touted as a spinners' paradise, as Bumrah piled that same haul into one sensational display, springing the trap on England's batters with the insuperable figures of 6 for 45 in 15.5 overs.

All six of those came in the space of 71 deliveries across his final three micro-spells - a howling, hustling display of express-paced reverse swing in which the cream of England's batting were simply bereft of answers. 

Joe Root's audible groan as he snicked an outswinger to first slip, having aligned himself to Bumrah's initial shape into his pads, confirmed the extent to which even England's kingpin had been outplayed, but it was Bumrah's subsequent extraction of England's first-Test hero. 

Ollie Pope - blasted from the crease by an unplayable inswinging yorker - which proved that, just occasionally, the danger is too acute even for this team to keep running towards it.

It was a one-man show to match that which Yashasvi Jaiswal had completed for India in the morning session, as he converted his overnight 179 to an epic 209 from 290 balls, in an innings in which no other batter passed 34. Though Bumrah was backed up in timeless flat-deck fashion by the wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav - whose sharp-turning wiles claimed three of the other four wickets to fall - it was his bulldozing of England's mighty middle-order in a surging spell either side of tea that has surely put this contest beyond the reach of even these never-say-die opponents. By the close, India's first-innings lead of 143 had been stretched to 171 without further loss in five overs, with Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma feasting on perhaps the first demoralised passage of play that England have allowed to slip into their endlessly optimistic attitude.