Jasprit Bumrah has been a sensation for India ever since he made his Test debut on the tour to South Africa earlier in the year. The Gujarat pacer is the only Asian bowler to take a five-wicket haul in England, South Africa and Australia in the same calendar year and he showed why he is so highly rated during the Melbourne Test. Bumrah picked up a sensational haul of 6/33 as Australia were bowled out for 151 to give India a massive 292-run lead after Cheteshwar Pujara’s century and fifties from Mayank Agarwal (76), Virat Kohli (82) and Rohit Sharma (63*) helped India declare at 443/7.
Bumrah accounted for Marcus Harris (22) but it was the ball to Shaun Marsh during the final ball before lunch which turned the momentum firmly in India’s favour. Marsh, who was batting on 19 at that time, prepared to take strike but Bumrah read the situation brilliantly. He bowled a low, dipping and slow full toss which sneaked under the bat of Marsh to trap him plumb LBW. It was the slower ball which caught the attention of cricket experts, with many praising his ability to read the situation of the match brilliantly.
Speaking to Cricket Australia after the end of the day’s play, Bumrah said the plan to bowl the slower ball was actually Rohit Sharma’s. “When I was bowling before lunch, the wicket was not doing a lot and the ball had become soft. Rohit was there at mid-off and he said, 'it's the last ball, you could try a slower ball'. He told me that I use it quite a lot in white-ball cricket and I could still try it. The execution was good and we got a wicket off the last ball. (I have to thank Rohit) for the suggestion, obviously,” Bumrah said.
Rohit has been Bumah’s captain for some seasons at Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and this suggestion shows Rohit’s tactical acumen as well. Bumrah’s spell has given India a firm hold in this match, but the Boxing Day Test will be remembered memorably for THAT slower ball by Bumrah, which could very well be series-defining.