India survive Bazball to go 1-1

Notes on Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin's brilliance, Root's wild slog, and Stokes' run out

India survive Bazball to go 1-1
R Ashwin is a fourth-innings (all-innings, really) great.

England started the day like this was doable. But that is the point of Bazball, fake it until you smack it. Rehan Ahmed batting at number three seems a stretch, but remember he has a first class hundred at number five. It seems like he’d forgotten that based on how he batted. But that is fine, it was a throwaway wicket.

Ollie Pope wasn’t though. His problems against Ashwin stayed. And India had their own Ashwin/Bumrah issue, as both wanted to bowl from the same end. But none of that mattered when Joe Root batted like he was hoping he wouldn’t overcook his pot noodles. That was the end of England being able to put real pressure on.

All this was a shame because Crawley batted incredibly. He was smarter than Root, and looked in complete control when Yadav got one to roll on him. England’s next chance was the controlled soft ball partnership of the rhyming batters, but that was ruined when Stokes forgot how to sprint for a simple single.

England were sloppy. Yet they still scored the second-best total in the fourth innings by an Indian tourist, Even their failures are outstanding. India were also a little sloppy, which they have been all series. They looked rattled early, but held the line afterwards. And when you have a massive first innings lead, that is all you need to do. 

The score after two Tests is Bazball one, Bumball one.

Jasprit Bumrah can bowl anywhere, everywhere (SAK)

Jasprit Bumrah has a very solid case for being the best all-format bowler in the world. Since his return to international cricket after the back injury, he has picked up 59 wickets at an average of slightly under 16 runs apiece across the three formats.

In the last series in South Africa, Bumrah was superb in both phases of the game, but again, preferred the older ball. We know that he has the skills to bowl with the new ball, but the difference in this series has been his performance with the old ball because of his ability to bowl yorkers and get it to reverse.

So far, England have done a good job attacking the seamers at the top, and the chances are he won't continue to average that high with the new ball throughout the series.

Bumrah averages almost 10 runs per dismissal less than his teammates in the fourth innings. That is a significant step up, considering he bowls in a high-quality attack.

Ambrose, McGrath and Waqar were also really good fourth innings bowlers because of their accuracy and the ability to get more bowled/LBW dismissals, which is also the case with Bumrah.

You can see it here. The percentage of those kind of dismissals increase, and part of this is because the pitches keep lower. Plus, he is not afraid to bowl a little fuller.

It's a bit surprising that he hasn't picked up a ten-wicket haul yet, but that happens when you are part of a strong bowling unit. He's been able to perform at this elite level in various conditions across the globe.

Via - Cricinfo

How good is R Ashwin in the fourth innings of a Test match? (SAK)

Ashwin has one of the best fourth innings averages ever. Because he's a spinner who plays a lot of cricket in Asia, that makes complete sense. Although he wasn't at his best today, he dismissed Pope, who struggles against him, and Root who played an absolutely bizzare shot.

We know that left-handers don't have it easy against off-spinners, and even more so when they're up against one of the greatest slayers of their kind. But he also does pretty well against the righties in the 4th innings, and even today he dismissed two of those.

Now, you might think that playing in India definitely helps. While that is definitely true, he more than holds his own even when he's not playing at home.

Ashwin outbowls his teammates by a fair amount, but the contrast is not as prominent as it is Bumrah's case. Part of this is because of Jadeja, who also does well in the fourth innings.

The dismissal types for Ashwin don't change as much. It is not that he becomes a different kind of bowler in the final innings, unlike say Bumrah or McGrath who target the stumps more often. The only major difference here is that he gets a bit more stumped dismissals, which is probably because of tailenders slogging blindly when they know the game is done and dusted.

Joe Root’s three balls (JK)

Joe Root decided to score in this innings. He reverse-swept his first and third balls, which was a little risky, but it was clear he was going to score here. 

Then in the next over he was facing Axar Patel - who was not quite on it. Root can down at him and smashed the ball for six. But Root was nowhere near this ball. It was a great strike, but a terribly risky shot. It looked good because it was a six, but it was not clear thinking. 

Then, the next ball, you see why he is thinking about coming down and attacking: Axar traps him on the crease. He gets away with it by a few millimetres, but it seems to spook him even more. 

But if the Axar shot was a poor decision, well the Ashwin one was bizarre. Root was not close to this ball in any way. 


This is a standard offspinner that Root is nowhere near the pitch of. It’s also outside off stump, not hugely, but enough because of the angle of Ashwin from around the wicket.


Then Root decides to hit this to midwicket. Reaching across the ball and dragging it to the leg. That doesn’t happen, and so it flies straight up and ends with Axar at point.


 Look at the angle on this bat, this is a swipe. Now, I get Bazball, and I like the idea of the concept. But this would be a bad shot in and ODI in the middle overs if you were 120/2 as well. Root was playing like he came in at the death of a T20. Maybe the finger injury played a part, but at the other end Crawley was playing the way Root normally would. Keeping pressure on, but playing proper shots. Isn’t that what Root has done in Bazball? Sure, some reverse scoops, but again they were well executed and also smart with the field where it was. 


But this was the wrong shot, to a ball not there. He was on the move, his balance was horrendous, look at his head here, he was lucky he didn’t fall over. 


And this is what he thought of it all. There is an argument that you have to accept the bad shots of Bazball as part of the process, I get that. But Root has not been that kind of player, and this wasn’t a shot he would normally play when not set. 

But also, Bazball is not new, England knows what works and doesn’t now.

The Stokes runout (JK)

There is definitely a single here. You can see how slow Ben Stokes is to react to this, and Foakes prodded along. This is not the position of one of the best athletes in cricket, running in full speed. And he's ball watching.


Although Shreyas Iyer did not score a lot of runs in this Test, he managed to have a significant impact on the game because of his fielding. The catch to get Crawley in the first-innings, and this runout were pivotal moments in context of the game.