In the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar trophy, India emerged as the victors two times in a row, not only retaining the silverware but penning down history in its most remarkable sense. Pant played a baffling stunner on the final day alongside an unsung 91 from tyro, Shubman Gill who set the platform for India’s history to be penned in golden letters at the Gabba.
A lot has been already spoken about how the Indian batters braved an ocean of challenges to overcome Australia in the latter’s backyard and win a series that saw their skeleton exposed after the end of the first Test.
Despite the batters being at their phenomenal best, the bowlers played an extremely industrious role in the series, and it was actually the ones holding the cherry that made a boatload of difference for India. With Australia’s willow heroics limited to a handful, the Indian bowlers showcased exemplary class, challenging the existing norms and pegging the Aussies back by a proverbial mile.
We will look at the five best bowing performances from the Indians in the recently-ended Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
- Ravichandran Ashwin – 4 for 55, 1st innings at Adelaide
Despite Indian batters failing to take a stand in the second innings that carved one of the most comprehensive victories for Australia in the format’s glittering history, the Indian bowlers posted sublime stuff in the first innings.
The bowling department was led by a sublime Ravichandran Ashwin who managed to scalp four wickets that broke down the backbone of Australia, bundling them out for a paltry 191 in the first innings. The first wicket for the Indian offie came with an absolute scorcher that was turning into Steve Smith and was slightly over-pitched. It also had a good deal of pace behind the ball, and it skidded onto Smith’s toe-end of the bat and took a sharp nick to fly straight into the lap of a diving Rahane.
The second one for Ashwin came through another skitter that saw Travis Head off-balance and flat-footed. A flighted delivery was hurled n the middle that left Head tumbling and in the process of parrying the clutches of LBW, he ended up playing with a half-turned bat and the ball bobbled up straight into the arms of Ashwin.
The third batsman to fall in Ashwin’s kitty was Cameron Green who bowled a shorter one this time on the leg stump and in an attempt to pull, Cameron dinked it high in the air with a diving Kohli perfecting his leap to complete a clinical catch.
The final fish in Ashwin’s pouch turned out to be Australia’s off-spinner, Nathan Lyon who got dismissed in a close lockstep to that of Cameron Green. Another short ball on Lyon’s hips was attempted to be pulled down the leg-side and in the process, the ball caught the open edge of the bat and Kohli held on to the cherry, pulling off another fine effort in the field.
- Jasprit Bumrah – 4 for 56, 1st innings at Melbourne
Despite being bogged down with an injury in the final Test match, and complained about not being at his phenomenal best, Jasprit Bumrah laid the foundation for India’s miraculous turnaround in the second Test of the series.
He started his heroics by scalping Joe Burns, setting up a trap with a couple of swinging variations. The first ball of the over was angled in, but it swung outside, thereby giving a faint clue to the batsman that which way the ball is drifting. The next delivery, however, was hurled straight at him without an iota of movement. Burns, completely misjudging the swing, poked at the wildling from Bumrah, and Pant took a comfortable catch.
The second man to fall victim to Bumrah’s blistering pace was Travis Head. A delivery that kept low despite being short of a length, latched on to its line and was angled in at Head, which was very precariously nicked by Head only to be pouched in clinical fashion at Gully by Ajinkya Rahane.
The third one to be scalped by a beaming Bumrah was Australian pace-vanguard, Mitchell Starc. Tasting a dose of his own medicine, Starc was given sweet-chin music by Bumrah which he couldn’t handle and miscued his hook only to be caught by Siraj at fine-leg.
The last nail on the coffin for Australia by Bumrah was more of a vindictive enterprise from the Indian express train. After being smashed for 12 runs in the first three balls of the over by Nathan Lyon that included a six and a four, with both of them coming in bouncers, Bumrah bombed in with a tracer bullet flying at 147 clicks which was full-on Lyon’s pads. The Australian spinner couldn’t even get his bat down and Australia was left wobbling with the scorecard being a woeful story of batting from the hosts.
- Ravindra Jadeja – 4 for 62, 1st innings at Sydney
The Indian bowlers had a hard time containing Australia in the first innings of the Sydney Test match. Steve Smith found his form and went on to score a blistering ton that propelled Australia’s cause. After an unnerving partnership from Labuschange and Smith, Jadeja managed to wriggle a breakthrough with some unexpected bounce nibbling off a thick edge from Marnus only to be pouched by Rahane at the first slip.
The second one to fall victim to the magical turn of Jadeja was Matthew Wade. He failed to read a delivery that slowed down along the way and in an attempt to defend it, he ended up nicking to Jasprit Bumrah who back-pedalled to mid-wicket to take a simple catch.
The man who was to take the long walk to the pavilion after a brilliantly flighted-delivery by Jadeja was Pat Cummins. He over-pitched it and placed it clinically in the blockhole that swivelled a bit and kissed the timbre to give Jadeja his third.
Jadeja’s final pick was Nathan Lyon who was once again foxed with a fuller delivery that crashed onto his shoe, and it was plumb in front of the middle stump. Unfortunately, this was Jadeja’s last match of this year’s campaign as he ended up dislocating his finger in this very Test match.
- Mohammed Siraj – 5 for 73, 2nd innings at Brisbane
The youngster who lost his father just before the series made a heroic arrival at the biggest podium of all as he managed to claim a fiver in the very second Test that he was playing and that too down under. His first pick in the second innings was Marnus Labuschange who looked pretty fine until then. Using the extra bounce that Siraj managed to extract from the pitch, Siraj whacked a nasty tracer bullet at Marnus and the latter nicked it to Rohit Sharma in the cordon.
Siraj claimed his second of the day in the same over as glancing effort from Matthew Wade kissed his inside edge and flew to Rishabh Pant who was exhilarated to pouch a big take.
The third wicket in Siraj’s kitty was the most scintillating of the lot as he was successful in removing a set Steve Smith who couldn’t handle the pace and the bounce and his inability to react to a nasty bouncer from Siraj ended up in kissing his glove and flying straight down the throat of Ajinkya Rahane.
With the tail of Australia trying desperately to rack up as many runs as they could, Mitchell Starc in an effort to resort to the aerial route lofted it miles in the sky and Navdeep Saini managed to pouch a simple take.
The last man to fall to the marauding fast bowler was Josh Hazlewood who failed to keep the ball low after attempting a miscued pull shot. Shardul Thakur completed a fine catch to hand over Siraj’s maiden fiver in his nascent Test career.
- Shardul Thakur – 4 for 61, 2nd innings at Brisbane
After a rippling display in the Test match that saw him posting a brilliant batting knock in the first innings, Thakur drew first blood as a brilliant bouncer that brushed the gloves of a set Harris flew into the safe arms of Rishabh Pant.
The next wicket for Thakur arrived at the corridor of uncertainty as Cameron Green failed to gauge the extra bounce and n the process prodded at a delivery that drifted further away from him only to be caught by Rohit Sharma.
Tim Paine wanted to bully Shardul Thakur by pulling his rising bouncer and in the process, all he could manage was a flying edge to Pant behind the stumps and the Indian keeper embarked upon a leap of faith and pouched a brilliant catch.
The last wicket in his repertoire arrived in the form of Nathan Lyon and a short ball outside was very poorly timed by Lyon, that took a flight of fancy was caught by Mayank Agarwal to leave the Australians in severe agony.