Bumrah’s hat-trick makes Windies lose way

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Cricket writers all over the world have still not stopped rhapsodising   England all-rounder Ben Stokes’s miracle at Headingly, Leeds, another equally magical performer is more or less ignored.

I mean India’s pace bowler and ace performer Jasprit Bumrah. Especially the way he has been making West Indies batsmen lose their way. Interestingly, Bumrah rhymes with gumrah which means in Hindi “lost way”.

He became only the third Indian to take a Test hat-trick in the second and final Test in Jamaica a few days ago. The first one was spinner Harbhajan Singh against Australia in the famous Kolkata Test in 2001 and the second was quickie Irfan Pathan against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006.

India won this Test by 257 runs and the series 2-0. They are on top of ICC World Test Championship with 120 points. New Zealand and Sri Lanka are joint-second with 60 points each, followed by Australia and England with 32 points each.

Despite Bumrah’s deadly spell, newcomer to Test fold Hanuma Vihari, a 25 year-old from Andhra Pradesh, was voted the Man of the Match for scoring 111 and 53 not out in this Test.

Sent in to bat India amassed 416 (opener Mayank Agarwal 55, skipper Virat Kohli 76 and Vihari 111). With Bumrah scalping 6 for 27, the Windies were bundled out for 117. Rather than enforcing follow-on, India batted again and declared at 4 for 168 (Ajinkya Rahane 64 and Vihari 53 added 111 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket).

Set a colossal 468 runs to win, West Indies were bowled out for 210 to lose by 257 runs. This was Kohli’s 28th Test victory, beating MS Dhoni’s record of 27 Test wins.

Bumrah was equally unplayable in the previous Test against the Windies at Antigua a week ago. His 5 for 7, the least expensive five-wicket haul by an Indian in Tests, helped hurry India towards a record 318-run win over West Indies. That bowling spree enabled Bumrah to become the first bowler from Asia to take five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies. He also impressed two West Indian fast-bowling greats – Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose – with his clarity of thought, game sense and aggression.

So impressed was Roberts that, in an interview with the Indian Express, he called Bumrah the “best Indian fast bowler I have seen”.

“In my time, it was all spin,” recalling India attacks of the past. “Good ones, but they wouldn’t win you matches overseas. India had Kapil Dev and some others but we never thought they could produce someone as lethal as Bumrah. He’s the best Indian fast bowler I have seen.”

Roberts, part of the great pace quartets that also included Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Malcolm Marshall, described how Bumrah’s unorthodox run-up and action broke the mental rhythm of batsmen as they prepared to face him. But what made the India bowler truly special, he felt, was his game sense and thinking, which belie the fact that he only made his Test debut in January 2018, and has only played only 11 Tests.


 In the just ended Jamaica Test, West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall made his debut. He weighs over 140 kg, the heaviest Test cricketer ever.

When West Indian Darren Bravo was concussed when batting yesterday, reserve player Jermain Blackwood batted in his place. This is allowed according to a new rule introduced this August. In the Lord’s Test last month, Australia’s 12th man Marnus Labuschagne had become the first one to bat when Steve Smith was concussed.

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