17-2-70-0. With the match on the line, Jasprit Bumrah was, for once, unable to put his best foot forward in the second Test against South Africa. Dean Elgar stayed resolute and the hosts won a famous victory. Seventeen overs without a wicket in the second innings.

It wasn’t like Bumrah bowled badly. He still beat the bat; he still had the batter in trouble but he didn’t get the wickets that India has become so accustomed to him getting.

His ‘no-show’ prompted former South Africa seamer Fanie de Villiers to tell The Indian Express that the hosts had worked Bumrah out.

“I don’t think it is a question of him lacking ability or he bowled badly,” Fanie de Villiers told The Indian Express just a couple of days before the Test began in Cape Town. “I think South Africa has worked him out. Since he has been India’s most important bowler, lots of team discussion has gone on how to tackle and survive Bumrah. I think South Africa has learned their lessons from the first Test.”

But clearly, they haven’t. Bumrah was back in his element at the Newlands. After the batters had let the side down again, the pacer led the bowling unit extremely well to claim his seventh five-wicket haul (5/42) in Test cricket as India staged a quite remarkable recovery on day two to bowl South Africa out for 210.

Bumrah started the day well with claiming the wicket of Aiden Markram, who was clean bowled while shouldering arms, off the second ball of the day. It was as we have seen for a while, the mark of a bowler who needs no warm-up deliveries.

His natural angle always seem to bring the ball back into the batter and with Markram struggling to understand where his off-stump is, it was perhaps inevitable too. But still, it had to be done and the right-armer did it.

With the sun beating down on the pitch, there was more pace and bounce off the wicket but with not many runs to play with, India needed wickets. Umesh Yadav sent Keshav Maharaj back soon enough but South Africa calmly made their way to 112/3 – they seemed comfortable enough in the middle for the commentators to start discussing what a good lead could be.

But Rassie van der Dussen gave India some hope. He looked particularly jittery after the lunch break, survived two run out attempts after calling for non-existent singles and then eventually edged one to the slip.

However, the fall of the wicket brought South Africa’s most consistent batter of the series to the wicket. Temba Bavuma has looked comfortable in the middle and played some very striking strokes too. And for 16 overs, with Keegan Petersen for company, he ensured it was smooth sailing for the hosts.

Then, a double-wicket over, accounting for Bavuma and Verreyne, from Mohammed Shami changed the course of the match in a jiffy. Before one knew it, South Africa were in trouble.

But someone had to finish the job and up stepped Bumrah.

In his short Test career, Marco Jansen has shown that he can bat but if Bumrah keeps running into him with the same kind of intent, perhaps he won’t want to. The two, who both represented the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, had a bit of a tiff in the second Test, some not-too-kind words were exchanged.

But Bumrah wasn’t angry or looking for payback. Instead, he realised that the best way to get even was to get Jansen’s wicket. He did that after tormenting him; after playing with him before finally sending the stump for a walk. It was a cat playing with its prey and the death stare at the end of it said more than words ever could.

Jansen had no answer to Bumrah. Reuters

“Nothing extra-special or out of the ordinary,” said Bumrah in the post-match press conference when asked about the wicket. “I was just focusing on what I had to do, and I was trying to focus on my routines and my processes and what I do, basically, before a Test match, or whatever has to be done whenever I prepare for a Test match. So, nothing out of the ordinary; I was not giving any extra attention or I was not really angry or, I was just focusing on what I had to do, I was just trying to be in the present.”

In a nutshell, Bumrah’s intelligence makes him a unique prospect. He knows his methods are working, he knows he is putting in the hard yards so he sees no reason to panic even when others perhaps might.

So after a bad match, when the outside noise, might distract others, for Bumrah, it just means a reason to go back to square one and do as he always does.

“There is always a lot of noise,” said Bumrah. “We have a routine — we as a unit, want to focus on our routine and know what has worked for us. Back my processes and back my routines.”

It sounds simple enough but it is sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to tinker. That Bumrah can, is a sign of the unshakeable belief he has in himself. For now, South Africa’s batters will have to go back to the drawing board – Bumrah’s method is working but theirs isn’t.