The smile was back on Jasprit Bumrah‘s face after his masterclass of a spell post lunch mesmerised England.
Home skipper Joe Root called that six-over burst the “turning point”, adding that “we’ve got to be realistic about things, that was world-class bowling” and said the team has to be better prepared as they may encounter more of the same in the fifth Test at Old Trafford, starting Thursday. Bumrah‘s own captain Virat Kohli termed it “unbelievable” and revealed that as soon “as it started reversing a bit, he said, ‘just give me the ball'”.
Bumrah himself looked pleased as punch but was so self-effacing it was hard to believe this was the same combative bowler of just a few moments back.
“Yes, I told him (to give me the ball),” he said. “It was reversing, not as much as it does in India but there was reverse swing. We thought it’s an important phase of the game and it’s very important to create pressure. That was the intention behind it.
“The mindset after lunch was that we needed to create a lot more pressure. If you give a lot of runs the momentum goes. You don’t want to play catch-up. If we start well, we have the belief and the patience. I knew I will give everything I’ve got.”
How tough was it given that the pitch was flat? “This was a flat wicket but our job was to ensure that we bowl in the right areas. All the bowlers chipped in. A lot of effort went into this.”
So how does a team go from 127/7 on the first day to 2-1 up in the series? And what does the team itself think of India’s evolving reputation as the comeback kings of the sport, from the MCG to the Oval?
“We always aim to be in the present,” said Bumrah, offering a peek into the philosophy of this team. “We are always focusing on the things we can control. We are a bunch of individuals who are happy and not looking to find needles in all the things (sic). This is how Test cricket goes, sometimes things go your way, sometimes not. The important thing is we didn’t lose shape as a team with a lot of things that were being said or written.
“After the first day, we were focusing on how to get back. Five days is a lot of cricket, the game can change anytime. (If) we got an opportunity we would push (back).”
Having become the fastest Indian to 100 Test wickets, Bumrah appears to be preparing for the long haul. “Nothing is easy in Tests and I’m very happy. I want to play Test matches for long… hopefully I’ll do well in the future. I’m happy to have put in the effort for this. When you’re bowling it’s hard to think about things like workload but I work hard on my fitness, my diet… and I’ve got the ammunition to push for the team if required.”