It won't be incorrect if we say Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah bombed the Australian batting line-up and they were in pieces after the first innings.
Bumrah's control on the ball is what helped him succeed in the third Test where he returned with his best figures ever in Test cricket. Bumrah picked up 6/33 in 15.5 overs. This time even Australian lower order couldn't compensate for the failure of top order as they were wiped off quickly by the Indian pacer.
Bumrah revealed how he got success in the first innings at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). “When I was bowling there, the wicket had become really slow and the ball had become soft... I tried to bowl a slower one, a fuller slow ball. Maybe it will dip or go to short cover. It worked because the ball had started reversing,” Bumrah said on Friday.
“When we play on similar wickets back home, the ball reverses. So you try to make the most of it. We were trying to use our experience in First-Class cricket where we have bowled with reverse-swinging balls. That was the plan,” he added.
Thanks to the pacer, India is now in a position where even a batting collapse in the second innings isn't affecting their chances of winning the Test match. India is currently 54/5 but still on top in the game.
Bumrah has had a fruitful outing this year. Playing in South Africa, England, and Australia, he bagged a five-for or more in all three countries, making him the only subcontinent bowler to do so.
“I am not surprised. If I say I don’t believe in myself, who else will? I just try to back myself in any situation that I go. Yes the start has been good and I have played in England, South Africa and here – three different kinds of conditions,” said Bumrah.
“Yes I have not played a Test in India but whenever you go to different countries, you have new learning and experiences from playing in every country. I have had a good start and let’s see how it goes further.
“I always wanted to play Test cricket, but people have only seen me in first-class cricket. I was always confident that whenever I get a chance I would be able to do well. Hopefully, I can keep on learning and keep getting better,” he added.
India is looking to add as many runs as can before making Australia feel the heat in the last innings. “There were no such plans (after batting on). We just wanted to play positive cricket. Yes, we lost a few more wickets than we wanted to but we will try to add as many runs as we want to and, hopefully, when we come back in the next innings (to bowl), try to get them out as well,” he said.
“We have bowled a lot of overs as well. We are not focussing on that (tiring out Australian bowlers). We are focussing on our plans what we have to do tomorrow morning or whenever we start to bowl, how the wicket is behaving and what purchase we are getting.”
It was Rohit Sharma who suggested Bumrah go for the slower delivery before the lunch which got Shaun Marsh's wicket.
“... the last ball before lunch, Rohit Sharma was there at mid-off and he told me ‘you can try a slow ball as you bowl in one-day cricket,” he said. “So, I thought yeah, I could give it go... maybe a slower ball there and some of their guys play with hard hands, so I wanted to try that. The execution was good on the day.”
Zero attention given by Bumrah to those who once doubted his bowling action and said he won't survive for long. “Let people say what they want (about my action). I don’t take seriously the talk about my action. In my childhood, I used to watch a lot of cricketers bowling so I don’t know how and when I developed this action,” he said.
“But whenever I have gone to NCA or anywhere, nobody tried to change my action. I was just asked to strengthen my body because, they thought, I can lose my pace. I have been a bit lucky in that aspect.” Bumrah also paid credit to his coaches through the career, and especially talked about Bharat Arun, for backing him despite his unorthodox bowling action.
“First time when I went to the NCA, Bharat Arun was there and he saw my action. I have been lucky in that he saw my action and he didn’t want to change that. He always believed that with this action I have to become stronger and won’t change your action,” he said.
“Instead we will work on the consistency and everything else will follow. I have been lucky enough to work with such coaches who didn’t try to change me but always told me to back myself.”
(WITH PTI INPUTS)