Johannesburg. Trent Bridge. Melbourne. All these three venues have one thing in common regarding Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling achievements. Two of these venues are similar in results, with India securing consolation wins. In Melbourne, India are on course for a famous win after the right-arm pacer took 6/33, his career-best figures and this third five-wicket haul in Tests to bowl Australia out for 151 and give Virat Kohli’s side a whopping 292-run lead. In the process, Bumrah became the first Asian bowler to take a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England and Australia in the same calendar year. His exhibition of bowling on day 3 in Melbourne was a masterclass and several analysts dubbed him the ‘total package’ and ‘Mr.360’ of bowling.
Bumrah had already given a demonstration of the damage that he could cause on day 2 when he hit Marcus Harris on the helmet with a sharp bouncer. On day 3, he continued to work on that mental scar. Bumrah banged a short delivery on leg stump and Harris was late on the pull shot, the top edge ballooned to fine leg where Ishant Sharma took the catch. However, Bumrah produced the moment of the match which turned the tide firmly in Kohli’s favour.
On the last ball before the lunch break, Bumrah bowled a slow, dipping full toss which sneaked under Shaun Marsh’s bat and he was trapped plumb in front for 19. The wicket before the break had given India tremendous momentum and they never loosened their grip. Immediately after the break, Bumrah produced another gem as he angled in a full ball that nipped back further off the seam to knock over Travis Head for 20. Australia held on until the tea break but following the resumption, Bumrah got Tim Paine with a delivery that straightened outside off and cleaned up Nathan Lyon (0) and Josh Hazlewood (0) in quick succession to enhance his reputation as India’s leader of the attack.
The Gujarat pacer had already made a mark on debut in Cape Town by taking four wickets, with AB de Villiers, considered to be the best batsman in the South Africa side, falling to him twice. On a spicy deck in Johannesburg, Bumrah’s 5/54, combined with Mohammed Shami’s 5/28 in the fourth innings gave India a consolation 63-run win. He has already taken 45 wickets in his debut calendar year, making it the most by a pacer ever.
In England, Bumrah missed the first two Tests due to an injury but when he returned for the Test in Trent Bridge, Bumrah took his second consecutive five-wicket haul and his 5/85 gave India a commanding 203-run win. In Adelaide and Perth, Bumrah had provided the breakthroughs at key intervals but it was in Melbourne where he displayed his class. His performance has given India a chance to create history and break decades of pain in Australia.