“Bumrah as the third seamer is perfect, especially for Australia and South Africa, if he can remain fit”.
South Africa gave India a taste of their own medicine when they won the opening Test at Cape Town. It was a battle between the top two Test sides in world cricket, and the series opener gave a clear picture of the kind of intensity that awaits in the next two games.
The No.1 Test side was beaten by 72 runs, and this defeat has hogged all the headlines on Tuesday morning. But one shouldn’t forget the memorable debut of Jasprit Bumrah, who showed immense maturity in the second innings and bowled his heart out under pressure.
Indian bowlers got the job done and managed to pick 20 South African wickets, which is the base to win a Test. But they were terribly let down by their batsmen. They failed to fire on a seam-friendly Newlands wicket and succumbed to a 72 run defeat to give South Africa a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Prior to the start of the Test, India did have a dilemma in choosing their pace attack. They handed Jasprit Bumrah the Test cap and he was the third seamer in this Indian attack. With the pace attack being led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, Bumrah was the best fit for a third seamer. His selection was made ahead of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
Ishant is by far the most experienced Indian Test bowler, while Umesh’s rise with the red ball in the recently concluded home season has been irresistible. But the team decided to invest in Bumrah’s abilities and he didn’t disappoint. Many cricket pundits have rated Bumrah highly and predicted him to do well in South Africa. But very few might have anticipated him to get a go straight away ahead of Ishant and Umesh.
Bumrah with the red cherry
Bumrah’s exploits in the shorter formats are well-known, and he is also one of the best white ball bowlers in contemporary cricket. It was just about time when he made it to the Test side. On his debut, the young fast bowler had AB de Villiers as his first Test scalp. A pretty big fish to start with.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar wreaked havoc with the new ball, but De Villiers’ counter-attack was taking the game away from India. He took on the Indian bowlers with unmatched confidence and Indian bowlers just didn’t have an answer to his belligerence. Bumrah was struggling to find his rhythm, which was expected from a debutant against the star-studded batting line-up.
Despite not being at his best, Bumrah delivered a gem to get rid of De Villiers. The ball angled in at a good pace and the gap between the bat and pad was enough for the red cherry to sneak through after kissing the willow. He was a bit erratic in the first innings, yet there were occasional sparks of brilliance. On a whole, it wasn’t a bad first innings with the ball for him but needed to pull up.
Bumrah show in the second innings
Bumrah returned with sheer control and discipline in the second innings, hitting the right areas on a consistent basis and keeping the batsmen on their feet. South Africa gained a healthy lead on this difficult wicket in the first innings. With Dale Steyn out, India had an outside chance of winning the game, but to do so, they needed to get rid of South Africa as early as possible in the second innings.
If someone granted a wish to a debutant, he would have definitely asked for the wickets of Quinton de Kock, De Villiers and Faf du Plessis. Well, in the second innings, it was no less than a dream come true for Bumrah, when he got the better of three South African stalwarts. His delivery to get rid of Du Plessis was absolutely staggering.
Moments later, he removed De Kock to put the pressure back on South Africa. De Villiers was the last man batting, he was looking to garner as many runs as possible. Bumrah picked his wicket for the second time in the Test as South Africa were cleaned up for 130. There was assistance for the seamers in the pitch and Indian seamers did well to exploit it, especially Bumrah in the second innings.
Bumrah as the third seamer is perfect, especially for Australia and South Africa, if he can remain fit. Fit because, he is the main ODI bowler also, which can create a problem at a later stage. The workload and pressure might just pile up. At Cape Town, his pace was up. He hit the wicket, which is crucial with the older Kookaburra because otherwise, it offers nothing. His deliveries were mostly angling in, but the odd one straightened off the seam.
One shouldn’t forget, Bumrah also possesses a lethal yorker and well capable of cleaning the tail. South African tail has scored some crucial runs and Bumrah is someone, who could get rid of them early. With a couple of games to go, it’s a golden opportunity for Bumrah to cement his spot in the side. The onus of making a comeback is now on India, but one can expect their bowling to do well. It is their batting that needs to step up. Bumrah has the potential to succeed in this format and at Cape Town, he gave a good glimpse of the limitless potential he has.