India were in a pretty delicate situation going into Day 5. England openers Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns had asserted their authority before stumps on Day 4. With the score reading 77 for no loss before the start of play today, a draw or even an England victory were likelier results.
The hosts were in commanding position even going into lunch on the final day. With the scoreboard reading 131 for 2, Team India needed a magical performance from the bowling unit to take the lead in the series and that’s exactly what they got.
Jasprit Bumrah, who picked up his 100th dismissal during the final innings and became the fastest Indian pacer to get to that mark, led the charge as Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, and Ravindra Jadeja followed suit. England went from 131 for 2 to losing the Test by 157 runs and India have now taken a commanding position in the series.
“The character that the side has shown, to come back from a 100-run deficit showed that we were not down and out. I said at Lord’s as well; I am proud of the character, among the top three bowling performances I have witnessed as India captain,” said a proud Virat Kohli.
What made the bowling performance even more spectacular was the fact that the flat track had almost nothing to offer to the pacers. It was evident when England pacers Ollie Robinson and James Anderson failed to leave a mark on Day 4 and the effect became more pronounced on the final day. Despite that, Bumrah bowled a spell to remember for ages and got India the breakthrough.
“It’s relative to what you call flat; the field wasn’t wet like in the first three days. The ball got scuffed up nicely, one side heavier, and (we) exploited reverse swing perfectly. We believed as a team that we could get all ten wickets.”
Shardul Thakur also had a near-flawless Test. Not only did he contribute with two vital half-centuries in the lower order in both the innings, he also delivered with the ball. In the first innings, Shardul dismissed Ollie Pope after he had scored his half-century. In the second innings, he dismissed the dangerous looking Rory Burns as well as England captain Joe Root.
“Rohit’s innings was fantastic. What Shardul has done in this game will be remembered for a long time. His fifty was the difference between a 150-160 run lead and a 100-run lead. His two fifties deflated the opposition.”
“His counterattack in the second innings made a lot of difference. We thought they would restrict us to a reasonable total when I got out, but he changed it,” added Virat Kohli.