Former England pacer Steve Harmison termed Team India pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s brutal spell in the second session as the defining moment of the last day’s play at The Oval. According to Harmison, Bumrah broke open the game with his lethal bowling.
Bumrah cleaned up Ollie Pope (2) and Jonny Bairstow (0) in quick succession to put Team India on top. Chasing 368, England then folded up for 210 as the visitors went 2-1 up with a 157-run triumph.
In a discussion on ESPN Cricinfo, Harmison hailed Bumrah’s efforts on a pitch that had nothing for the pacers.
“Credited to the way India bowled under pressure and the way Virat Kohli captained. The bowlers stuck to their task, and when the game needed a little bit of inspirational jolt, it was all down to the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah. That spell in the middle of the afternoon today was the difference between getting over the line and not getting over the line,” the former England cricketer opined.
Harmison added that Bumrah ensured Team India did not miss the services of Ravichandran Ashwin on a surface that had a little more on offer for spinners than pacers.
“India have obviously got it right because they have won the Test match. I still think Ashwin would have been a far bigger threat had he been playing. But the way you look it, this game was blown up by six overs of brilliance by Jasprit Bumrah. The bowlers have been asked time and again by their captain to turn up, hit the ground running. It was a great all-round team effort from the bowlers. They were absolutely brilliant on an absolute feather bed,” Harmison added.
While Jasprit Bumrah finished with figures of 2-27, Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur also claimed two wickets apiece before Umesh Yadav claimed the last three wickets.
“Can’t single out one defining moment for Team India” – VVS Laxman
Former Team India batter VVS Laxman credited the triumph at The Oval to a complete team effort. He opined that it was difficult to pick one defining moment from the game.
“When you win a Test match in such fashion, you can’t single out one defining moment for Team India. It started with Shardul Thakur’s half-century on the first day. If he wouldn’t have got that fifty, Team India wouldn’t have reached 190. They would probably have been bundled out for less than 150, and would have been way behind in the Test match,” Laxman said.
He further pointed out that England allowed Team India to claw back in the contest by not taking a big enough lead in the first innings.
“The way Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali batted, I thought they would get a lead of 250, but they threw away the opportunity. Also, the way KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara batted in the second innings was also very crucial. If Team India had lost early wickets, then they would have exposed the middle order, which was not very confident. Today, everyone stood up, but Bumrah’s spell was the best on show,” Laxman concluded.
India will now head to the final Test in Manchester, starting September 10, with a great opportunity to win their first Test series in England since 2007.