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Sunday, September 19, 2021

India’s pace bowlers are coming into their own. It’s a shiny new cricket moment

Like for all the world-conquering sides of the past, a halo is beginning to grow and shine around India’s pace-bowling quartet. The halo of world-beaters.

By: Editorial |
Updated: August 18, 2021 8:40:11 am
To bowl out England inside two sessions on a benevolent surface seemed an improbable proposition, but India’s pacers put out a collective performance of high-class skills, and unrelenting intensity.

The victory at Lord’s is not merely a win that Indian cricket will remember for years, it was also a forceful statement of quality and willpower of Virat Kohli and his team. From every setback, they have emerged victorious, much like the Australians in the first decade of this century. To bowl out England inside two sessions on a benevolent surface seemed an improbable proposition, but India’s pacers put out a collective performance of high-class skills, and unrelenting intensity. It is as if the Indians are the new Aussies of world cricket.

It was as much a triumph of their physical skills as a reflection of their mental strength. This team is simply unwilling to quit. Not on the final morning, when Rishabh Pant got out and a defeat loomed. The much-mocked Indian tail-enders showed they have steel as well as sting. They took blows on body and helmet, and fought on valiantly till India was safe. The unexpected batting heroes — Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah — might never morph into all-rounders, but they showed the guts to dig in their heels in the face of adversity.

Later, when England battled defiantly, after the early collapse, a draw lurked. Just about 10 overs remained, and India seemed to be running out of ideas. Then came in Jasprit Bumrah with a laser-guided off-cutter from around the stumps to break the resistance. Mohammed Siraj overpowered the last two batsmen in the space of four balls to ring in an unforgettable victory. It has been the pattern throughout the game; whenever India buzzed SOS, someone would invariably get the job done. Every member of the quartet had a match-deciding moment in the game, be it Siraj’s triple twin-strikes, or Bumrah’s spell from hell at the start of the second innings, or Ishant Sharma’s two-wicket burst in the first innings, or Mohammed Shami deceiving a well-set Rory Burns in the first dig. Like for all the world-conquering sides of the past, a halo is beginning to grow and shine around India’s pace-bowling quartet. The halo of world-beaters.

This editorial first appeared in the print edition on August 18, 2021 under the title ‘The quartet’.

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