Jasprit Bumrah, who picked three wickets in Australia’s second dig to add to his tally of six in the first innings, now has 48 Test scalps in just nine matches. @ Twitter
Jasprit Bumrah, who picked three wickets in Australia’s second dig to add to his tally of six in the first innings, now has 48 Test scalps in just nine matches. @ Twitter

Jasprit Bumrah has been the success story of Indian cricket in 2018. Ever since he made his Test debut at Cape Town where India were up against South Africa in the first Test, Bumrah has shown signs of being a world class bowler. He might have achieved that earlier than he thought he would, especially after his Man of the Match performance in the third Test against Australia at the MCG which India won by 137 runs on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy.

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Bumrah, who picked three wickets in Australia’s second dig to add to his tally of six in the first innings, now has 48 Test scalps in just nine matches. He led the Indian bowling attack as the hosts were bowled out for 261 on the final day with the tourists requiring just 27 deliveries to clean up the Aussie tail on the final rain-affected day.

Bumrah, who claimed 9/86 in the MCG Test, has achieved the best match figures by any Indian pacer in Tests in Australia.

“What I liked was not even once did he lose control, or did he look as if he was ineffective. That shows on how much he was worked hard on his fitness, how skilful he is, and how much control he has got with his bowling,” former India batsman VVS Laxman told ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

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“For me, the hallmark of a bowler is, is he executing the plans he has got for each and every batsmen? Right from ball one, he’s on the money. He knows where he has to land the ball, and he does that efficiently with the variations he has got. So, one thing that makes sure Bumrah is way ahead of other bowlers in international cricket, especially in Test match cricket, is the amount of variations he’s got.”

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In fact, Bumrah’s exceptional bowling performance at Melbourne has drawn parallels with Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram. “He almost reminds me of Wasim Akram. For me, Wasim Akram was the toughest bowler I have faced because of the amount of variations he had and the control he had over those variations. Bumrah has got those variations just like Wasim had,” Laxman, who has scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests at an average of 45.97, explained.

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Laxman also singled out Cheteshwar Pujara’s contribution in the MCG Test. The Saurashtra batsman’s 106 off 319 balls in the first innings was criticised by many former Australian players including Ricky Ponting, but it proved to be the difference in the match, with a deteriorating pitch making run-scoring difficult for the batsmen. Pujara was also involved in a massive 170-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Virat Kohli.

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“I thought Cheteshwar Pujara’s knock was instrumental in India getting to a score of more than 400. The application, patience with which he played and the partnership he stitched with Virat Kohli was very important keeping in context of the game and how the batsmen fared on this wicket, so Pujara was someone who impressed me a lot,” he said.

Laxman heaped praise on Bumrah’s contribution across all formats. “You can’t take anything away from Jasprit Bumrah. He has been sensational the entire year. In fact, he would be the player of the year along with Virat Kohli. Kohli in the batting department and Bumrah in the bowling department have been sensational for India,” he said.