Wednesday, January 26, 2022

India vs West Indies: Comeback man Bhuvneshwar Kumar triggers home side’s collapse

Bhuvneshwar likes the cooler climes of England and New Zealand, Jadeja likes the dry heat and humidity of the subcontinent.

Written by Sandip G | Gros Islet |
August 13, 2016 5:48:44 am
India vs West Indies, Ind vs WI, WI vs Ind, West Indies, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar wickets, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling, sports news, sports, cricket news, Cricket India had a first-innings lead of 128 runs. (Source: AP)

The focus was so much trained on Murali Vijay’s omission that the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja went unnoticed. It’s rare that you see them play together, for the conditions they thrive in are peculiarly different. Bhuvneshwar likes the cooler climes of England and New Zealand, Jadeja likes the dry heat and humidity of the subcontinent. Both last played together in Old Trafford two years ago, the And if the script of the series had flowed accordingly, their paths wouldn’t have converged here either.

Their inclusion in this Test might have sounded a little defensive, like these weren’t the ideal conditions for either to prosper. It was their general discipline that merited their comeback. But both conspired to infuse some life into a match that seemed heading to a draw.

To coax a result out of a rain-truncated match—now effectively a four-day fixture—and on a turgidly slow surface, they needed to not only bowl with control and precision, but also required generous amounts of luck and some clumsy batting from the West Indies batsmen. If fortune smiled in the way of Darren Bravo and Kraigg Brathwaite’s dismissals, the latter intervening in the path of a keeper-bound Ashwin delivery down the leg-side, post lunch, Bhuvneshwar slit through them like a made-in-Meerut scissors with the cunning use of swing, seam and practical wisdom. He didn’t extract precocious swing, just subtle movements either ways. But what made his even more lethal was his fourth-stump line and unflagging accuracy. Swing, seam and accuracy is deadly blend.

His delivery to eject Blackwood was a bona fide beauty, angling in and moving away. But it was a classic case of alluring him into the trap. He had continuously probed him outside the off-stump with the older ball, making it generally swing into him and occasionally holding its line. But with a seven-over old new ball, Bhuvneshwar haggled more bounce and away swing. Samuels was worked over with equal felicity. He bowled a series of balls shaping away him, before he slipped in one that seamed sharply back into him. A stunned Samuels’s delayed attempt to keep off the ball from hitting the stumps went futile.

Bhuvneshwar, who last played a Test as far back as January last year, wasn’t finished yet. After Ravindra Jadeja took out Kingston hero Roston Chase, he nailed Jason Holder, again his sharp inward movement shocking him. Where more accomplished batsmen failed, debutant fast bowler Alzarri Joseph could do little to negotiate the movement he was generating.

So five wickets in the space of 12 runs revived the hopes of a definite result in the match. This time it wasn’t a case of West Indies batsmen pressing the self-destruct button. But them stupefied by the understated craft of Bhuvneshwar, and with little help from fellow comeback man Ravindra Jadeja.

Brief Scores: India 353 vs West Indies 225 all out in 103.4 overs ( K Brathwaite 64, M Samuels 48, B Kumar 5/33)

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