So often see captains throw the ball to the part-time bowler before the close of a session in a Test match. Maybe the batsman will drop his guard, maybe the bowler can throw up a surprise. It works sometimes.
But for India at the MCG on day three of third Test, the element of surprise came from Jasprit Bumrah.
The fast bowler delivered an inspirational slow yorker at the stroke of lunch and the slow dipping delivery caught Shaun Marsh plumb in front of the wicket as Australia’s top-order was blown away on the third morning. The ball was clocked at 111 kph after a series of balls in the 140s.
At the lunch break, Travis Head was unbeaten on 18 with India leading by 354 runs.
Starting at the overnight score of 8 for no loss, Australia were under the pump early on as Ishant Sharma (1/32) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/28) made life difficult for the batsmen with their immaculate line and length.
Ishant struck in the fifth over of the morning when Mayank Agarwal latched on to a sharp catch at short mid-wicket to send back Aaron Finch (8). The fielder was stationed there for any aerial shot and the plan worked perfectly. Four overs later, Marcus Harris (22) went for an uncontrolled pull and found the fine leg fielder as Bumrah celebrated his first wicket of the day.
India used the scoreboard pressure to good effect as Ravindra Jadeja (1/19) came on to bowl with close-in fielders all around the bat. The left-arm spinner exploited the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump and it became increasingly difficult for the batsmen to survive. Usman Khawaja (21) fell to this ploy, caught at short leg, as Australia slipped further to 53 for 3 in the 20th over.
Shaun Marsh and Head then added 36 runs for the fourth wicket and brought some semblance of stability to the Australian innings. And then Bumrah came up with a moment of magic.
Michael Clarke, commentating for Sony Six, knows all to well about being done in by a slower ball at end of a session. Murali Karthik made a cheeky reference to this famous Ashes moment too and it got a laugh out of Clarke.
And someone was quick enough to mash up the two dismissals. Internet, eh?
With PTI inputs