NEW DELHI: After dismissing Rishabh Pant early on the final day of the second Test at Lord’s, the English wanted to have a go at the Indian tailenders Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Mark Wood was the first one to have a real go, as he bowled a short-pitched delivery that hit Bumrah’s helmet. And, that’s how the altercation started. Apart from bowling a barrage of bouncers, the England cricketers began to sledge the Indian tailenders, Bumrah and Shami, in an effort to distract them. Jos Buttler was also one of the cricketers who exchanged words with Bumrah. But that didn’t affect the Indian pace duo, as they went on to forge a match changing 89-run stand for the ninth wicket and helped India set a 272-run target for the hosts.
But Shami and Bumrah, who scored 56 not out and 34 not out respectively, were not done yet. They came back to rattle the England team with the ball.
When the England batsmen came out for the chase, Shami and Bumrah rocked the top-order, before Ishant Sharma (2/13) and Mohammed Siraj (4/32) dismantled the hosts’ to help India wrap up an unforgettable 151 run win to give India a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah (ANI Photo)
As it was later confirmed by Virat Kohli, the fast bowlers were all extra charged up because of the way England went after Shami and Bumrah while they were batting.
KL Rahul, the Man of the Match of the Lord’s Test, said after the match – “If you go after one of our guys that means you are going after the whole team”.
The one who made sure the Indian players didn’t drop their intensity was captain Virat Kohli, who had kept a close watch on all proceedings while Shami and Bumrah were batting from the Lord’s balcony.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar feels the plans to target the Indian tailenders in that way would have been hatched by the England team management, but Joe Root’s men didn’t think that Virat Kohli remembers everything and wants to give it right back.
“I am sure it all came from England coach Chris Silverwood. That was his idea, let’s target India’s number 10 or 11, bouncing them really hard and rattle them. India were like, okay you are after one of our guys, we all will be after you now. India’s tactic really worked in their favour,” Panesar told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.
Bumrah is currently leading the list of highest wicket-takers for the series so far, with 12 wickets in 2 Tests.
“England thought that they would bully the Indian team. ‘Let’s bully Jasprit Bumrah, the number 11.’ But they weren’t aware of what kind of character Virat Kohli is. He was observing everything and then came back hard on England. He is a guy who never forgives. He will support his team in every way no matter what. Virat can’t tolerate the bullying of his teammates. England started but it backfired and all credit goes to Virat. England were intimidated by the Indian team. On Day 5, when they got Rishabh Pant out, they thought they would get Shami and Bumrah cheaply too. But everything backfired for England. You just can’t mess with India. Virat can’t take bullying. He will give it back to you strongly,” Panesar further said.
Former India cricketer Maninder Singh also feels the verbal volleys fired up the Indian team.
“This Indian team plays as a unit. The incident had fired India up. It made India more determined. India have become good travellers now. Winning in Australia is not easy but this Indian team has done it twice. They won back-to-back series on Australian soil. Whenever an opponent tried to go after India, they have given answers with their performance. That’s what they did in the Lord’s Test. Honestly, I basically don’t mind such incidents on the field. It makes a game interesting. It shouldn’t be too gentlemanly all the time,” Maninder told TimesofIndia.com.
Virat Kohli (AP Photo)
“Virat is a hard taskmaster. The credit has to go to him. But I would give credit to this unit as a whole. Let’s not forget Ravi Shastri. He is doing a commendable job. He is the one who is injecting confidence in the team and youngsters,” Maninder, who played 35 Tests and 59 ODIs for India, further said.
With the Lord’s win, India have gone up 1-0 in the five-match series. The first Test ended in a draw, as India were denied a win by persistent rain on the final day at Trent Bridge.
India will now take on England in the third Test beginning August 25 at Headingley in Leeds.