London, Aug 17 (IANS) When India skipper Virat Kohli announced his playing XI without R Ashwin, many cricket experts were surprised at him ignoring world cricket’s premier off-spinner. Eventually, it didn’t matter since India’s pace quartet comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, veteran Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj bowled India to victory on the fifth and final day Monday, sharing all English 20 wickets.
“India have bowled well and created chances,” said former India pace bowler Ajit Agarkar on air as India tightened the noose around the host.
More remarkably, the India pacers did better than England pace bowlers in their backyard.
Even in the first Test at Trent Bridge, all the 20 English wickets were claimed by pace bowlers, something that is normally not associated with Indian bowling attacks.
This is only the second time – after the 1989/90 tour of Pakistan – that Indian spinners did not take a single wicket in two consecutive Test matches.
Such has been the quality of the Indian pace bowling in recent times that it came as no surprise when Ravindra Jadeja was barely tried, as the English batsmen kept finding the edges.
The Indian pacers had also played a key role in the series win in Australia.
An example of how the Indian bowlers were mentally alert was Bumrah’s last over. Even as Ollie Robinson and Jos Buttler were putting on resistance, the right-arm pacer used his limited overs skills to outsmart the batsman. He bowled a bouncer, yorker and then a slower one to trap Robinson, the England No. 9, LBW.
“The T20 skills of Bumrah are coming to the fore. There is bouncer, yorker followed by a slower ball,” said former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar on air.
The England bowlers, who bowled more with emotion and with an eye on revenge for short-ball attack on James Anderson by Jasprit Bumrah on the third day of the Test, had lost the plot in their mind as they leaked runs in the first session of the fifth day against a field that was meant more to stop runs.
Instead of attacking, England captain Joe Root spread the field and allowed easy runs.
The Indian bowlers, on the other hand, were bang on target as their skipper Virat Kohli kept the pressure on the opposition with right field placements and close-in fieldsmen as he looked for wickets.
The bowlers responded by bowling at the stumps and creating opportunities.
While Shami, Siraj and Bumrah were always threatening in both the innings, Ishant Sharma had looked off-colour in the first innings.
However, as former India pacer Ajit Agarkar observed, “He (Ishant) has bowled lengths lot more consistently [in second innings], may be cut down on speed. They all bowled really well on a supposedly good pitch.”