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India's ferocious performance in the second Test leaves England trailing, with Bumrah taking six wickets.
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India’s ferocious performance in the second Test leaves England trailing, with Bumrah taking six wickets.

Although he was raised in a nation known for its skilled batters and clever spinners, Jasprit Bumrah’s passion has always been for fast bowling. And not just any type of fast bowling. As a child, Bumrah was enamored with watching bowlers on TV who could knock over stumps with a perfectly executed yorker.

It is possible that many others were also convinced after witnessing a captivating second day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam. At 1:45pm local time, Bumrah knocked down Ollie Pope’s stumps like a lumberjack. The middle stump went left, the leg stump flew right, and the off stump was left standing alone. Pope’s feet were momentarily in a different area code, his bat on the ground, while Bumrah gleefully ran past him.

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.

At the end of the day, the hosts were back up to bat with a lead of 143 runs from their first innings, which increased to 171 runs without losing any wickets. Bumrah was relaxing in the team’s dressing room while England’s score rapidly increased due to a series of boundaries. Bumrah’s smile remained as he had taken six wickets for 45 runs in just 15.5 overs, causing England to be all out for 253 runs.

Kuldeep Yadav may have something to say about this, as the left-arm wrist spinner with a unique Harry Houdini-esque hairstyle managed to break through England’s strong start. He took three wickets for 71 runs, including Ben Duckett who was caught at silly point. With Ravindra Jadeja not playing, Yadav’s skillful delivery of low-slung spinners from an uncommon angle was a key factor in England’s downfall.

However, India’s main unconventional move was not overshadowed, as Bumrah’s unique bowling technique caused the ball to curve unpredictably before and after the tea break, leaving the opposing team with no defense. This was Bumrah’s second instance of taking five wickets in a single match, an impressive feat considering it was only his sixth Test match on home soil. While not as spectacular as Pope’s dismissal for 23, Bumrah’s strategic targeting of Joe Root resulted in the English captain being caught out for just five runs.

England was in a good mood before this happened. Jimmy Anderson efficiently assisted in taking the last four Indian wickets before lunch, and initial annoyance at Ravichandran Ashwin’s position at the non-striker’s end was alleviated by his figures of three for 47. Despite Yashasvi Jaiswal converting his impressive overnight score of 179 into 209 – his first double century as a stylish young left-handed batsman, celebrated like Jude Bellingham – India, who resumed on 336 for six, were left questioning if they were still at a disadvantage with their final score of 396 all out.

England’s captain, Ben Stokes, plays a sweepView image in fullscreen

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.

However, when he hit Axar Patel’s third delivery after the game resumed, it was aimed towards backward point. The arrival of Root coincided with the ball starting to move late for seamer Mukesh Kumar, prompting Rohit Sharma to call for Bumrah.

Root was the first to go, as his front foot was probed in a Hyderabad-esque manner before being dismissed by the one that moved away. This was followed by the most concerning end of a Pope since John VIII was poisoned and strangled by his own clergy in the ninth century. The delivery responsible for this wicket was Bumrah’s yorker, which he had perfected as a child by aiming for the skirting boards at home while trying not to disturb his sleeping mother – although it’s doubtful anyone could sleep through the noise caused by this delivery.

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After successfully scoring a repeat, Jonny Bairstow seemed confident as he reached 25 runs with the help of Ben Stokes. This brought England’s total score to 155 for four by tea time. However, when Bumrah returned, he quickly caused another edge to slip from a Yorkshireman, reminding us of the power his signature ball holds.

As the audience cheered loudly again, Stokes showed discomfort on the opposite side, his wrinkles becoming more pronounced as Yadav took two more wickets. Ben Foakes was dismissed for six runs after playing around one delivery, while Rehan Ahmed meekly hit the ball to midwicket for the same score. Yadav’s bowling seems to be a growing concern for India as they approach the fourth innings, with the unpredictable bounce of this pitch being the main challenge.

Stokes was taken out by Bumrah’s fourth and final attack, ending his strong 47. This was the second instance in the series where the England captain was left wondering what he could do, as a low ball knocked back off the stumps. His teammates in the lower-order were also unable to provide a satisfactory answer, with Tom Hartley’s aggressive 21 cut short by a slip catch and Anderson dismissed with an lbw from the inswinger.

Sharma and Jaiswal were the only ones remaining to make the situation worse, while Anderson continued to bowl with little rest.

In the first Test, England managed to overcome a large deficit in the first innings. After the day’s play, Crawley commented on their performance. However, understanding how Bumrah is able to make a reverse-swinging cricket ball talk is still a challenge.

Source: theguardian.com