London: The magical first innings spell by Jasprit Bumrah was the difference between India and England in the just-concluded second Test, according to former England captain Nasser Hussain, who said the visitors were powerless against the Indian pacer’s genius.
India’s go-to bowler in all formats, Bumrah displayed brilliance with the ball to play a key role in the team’s series-levelling 106-run win.
The pacer put up a reverse swing master-class in England’s first innings that yielded him six wickets (6/45), following it up with a three-wicket haul in their second essay for match figures of 9 for 91.
“I think, really, it was just the magic of Jasprit Bumrah that was the difference. He got three-for today (Monday), but it was that incredible spell in the first innings, 6-45, that blew away England for 253 on a really good, flat pitch,” Hussain wrote in his column for ‘Sky Sports’.
Bumrah’s bowling and young Yashasvi Jaiswal’s first innings double ton were the highlights of India’s win in Visakhapatnam.
Hussain felt that England could do nothing but “doff their cap” to the genius of Bumrah.
“Sometimes you can be critical of your own team, look at your performance and say, ‘what could we do better?’ But sometimes you also have to just just doff your cap to the opposition and say they were touched by genius.
“That’s exactly what happened. That spell from Bumrah in England’s first innings was genius. Reverse swing, with his slightly unorthodox action and the way he leans across to the offside, he creates angles,” he added.
Bumrah dismissed Joe Root for the eighth time in Test cricket before producing a ripping yorker that bamboozled an in-form Ollie Pope in England’s first innings.
“He’s all over Joe Root at the moment – he’s got him out eight times in Test cricket – and he got Ollie Pope with an absolute beauty of an in-swinging yorker.
“He also bowled Ben Stokes from round the wicket, who dropped his bat in disbelief.”
‘Series set up perfectly ahead of third Test’
Hussain feels England should be prepared for an even stronger hit-back from the hosts in the remaining three Tests.
“It is set up perfectly, with three Tests to play. I think it will be a tight series but England are going to have to expect India to come back even harder.”
In the opening two Tests, India were without the services of Virat Kohli, who opted out due to personal reasons and the injured Mohammed Shami.
The hosts suffered another blow when Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul were ruled out of the second Test as well.
“India have missed quite a few key players so far. Mohammad Shami, I think, is out for the series, Ravi Jadeja could well be out for another Test match and Virat Kohli has been out of the first two. We are talking about some serious cricketers there.
“Kohli may well come back in, KL Rahul also, so I would expect a stronger Indian side in those last three games of the series. England will know that they’re going to have to up their game,” Hussain said.
The third Test will begin in Rajkot on February 15.