Jasprit Bumrah’s response to Jaipur Traffic Police’s ad-trolling was dignified sarcasm. But by his shyness quotient, it was a sharp reaction. “well done Jaipur traffic police this shows how much respect you get after giving your best for the country,” he had tweeted, when the traffic cops used the picture of Bumrah overstepping the line in the Champions Trophy final in an advert to raise traffic awareness.
Modern-day cricketers are quick to get failures out of their systems. Matches come thick and fast. But Fakhar Zaman’s reprieve in the Champions Trophy final was a different issue, just for the fact that it was an India-Pakistan summit clash at a showpiece event.
Bumrah had taken out the Pakistan opener when he was on three, but it was a no-ball. Zaman went on to score 114, setting up Pakistan’s thumping 180-run victory. The Jaipur Traffic Police’s hyperbole notwithstanding, trolling was expected. Bumrah faced a big character test. On Sunday at Pallekele, he showed his class and steel.
Bumrah’s maiden five-for in ODIs, 5/27 in 10 overs (previous best 4/22 against Zimbabwe), was much more than hitting the right areas, getting the ball to bounce and bend, and returning with his career-best figures. This was bouncing back to positive vibes and accolades. In fact, the whole series is his redemption; he now has 11 scalps in three matches at an average of 8.36 and economy rate of 3.49. In the second ODI here three days ago, Bumrah had figures of 4/43. But Sunday’s effort reached a different level.
A slip-up against Pakistan could be damaging as Chetan Sharma would attest. Even after 31 years of that Sharjah final, the former India seamer bears the burden of a length slip. With four runs needed for Pakistan to win the Australasia Cup final, Sharma was about six inches too full. Maybe, he didn’t notice that Javed Miandad had adjusted his position and stood outside the crease to convert an attempted yorker into a full-toss. “. poor Chetan Sharma,” Miandad said in ‘Cutting Edge: My Autobiography’.
Sharma represented an era when internet was unheard of. Bumrah has had trigger-happy social media fanatics to deal with. He personified strength of character. Here is how he dismantled the Sri Lankan batting on Sunday.
A superb yorker breached Niroshan Dickwella’s cross-batted swing and hit him on the pads right in front of middle stump. The only doubt was whether the ball pitched outside leg. The umpire was unconvinced and Kohli was iffy. Bumrah urged his skipper to go for the review and was proved right.
Kusal Mendis was dismissed with a 140 kph delivery that moved away off the deck. Rohit Sharma took a brilliant catch, diving to his right at second slip.
After his first spell, Bumrah’s figures read: 5-2-9-2. This pitch had some extra bounce and the young fast bowler was bending his back. Such was the zip in his bowling that Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the other end, who bowled well within himself, looked a mere support cast.
After Hardik Pandya broke a 72-run third-wicket partnership between Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne, removing the former, Kohli must have been tempted to bring his chief hit man back against an unsure Angelo Mathews. But the captain preferred to wait. Mathews fell prey to his indiscretion, attempting a premeditated reverse sweep off Kedar Jadhav and playing over a low-arm, straight delivery. With the hosts at 150/4 after 38 overs, Bumrah returned.
It was still a 50-50 contest, maybe 60-40 in India’s favour. But Sri Lanka definitely had a chance to post a challenging total because Thirimanne, in his comeback match, was playing a lovely innings. Bumrah brought out an off-cutter from his bag of tricks, forced the left-hander to play early and spoon a catch to Jadhav at mid-wicket. The fast bowler once again retreated to a break.
Bumrah came back to clean up the tail at the death. An in-cutter castled Akila Dananjaya, while a fast and straight delivery sent Milinda Siriwardana packing, uprooting the middle stump.
Bumrah conceded only two fours in his 10 overs — after a sharp shower, when the ball became a little greasy and Siriwardana used the long handle. He celebrated the five-wicket haul with a smile.
It was in sharp contrast to the uncharacteristic asperity of his tweet to Jaipur Traffic Police: “But don’t worry I won’t make fun of the mistakes which you guys make at your work. because I believe humans can make mistakes”. The no-ball at The Oval was a human error. Bumrah has salvaged it.