Little was expected of the Indian batsmen going into the final day of the second Test at Lord’s. India were at 181 for 6 and things looked worrisome for the team as Rishabh Pant was the only set batsman left. That changed soon when Ollie Robinson removed him after a few overs in Day 5.
Ishant Sharma did a fantastic job after coming on and ended up scoring 16 runs which included two boundaries. However, it was Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah who stole the show. The pair ensured that India survived the first session of the day and then proceeded to unload on the England bowlers who seemed to have lost all ideas on how to stop the tail from wagging.
Shami scored a magnificent half-century at Lord’s (56*) while Bumrah scored 34 not out – their highest ever Test scores. The partnership ended on 89 not out, India’s highest ninth wicket partnership away from home.
VVS Laxman heaped praise on the Indian tail and cited that they had been practicing in the nets against short balls and rising deliveries. All the efforts bore fruit yesterday as Jimmy Anderson, Mark Wood, and Ollie Robinson continuously bowled short to the Indian tail but they had all the answers ready.
“Credit to the team management and all the tailenders. Ishant Sharma is more than capable of batting and I have had the experience of having those partnerships with him. Shami is more than capable of batting. You know that he can hit big sixes. I still remember that match against South Africa, where he hit a lot of sixes.
“Umesh Yadav, who is not part of this playing XI, is a useful batsman. He has got a first-class hundred. Jasprit Bumrah, we have seen from the Australia series, how much value he is giving to his wicket and how much he has improved as far as his batting is concerned. Siraj, being from Hyderabad, I know that he can bat,” the former batting great said on ESPN Cricinfo.
This performance from the lower-order will inspire more confidence in the Indian batsmen going ahead in the series. The woes of the middle-order seemed to come to an end as well with Pujara and Rahane finally finding runs in the middle. The Indian tail, which has hardly been recognized as a great batting collective before has proven its detractors wrong.
“This is a massive shift for the Indian batting line-up. We have talked about how the middle-order hasn’t performed to their potential. Also, the contribution from Indian tailenders hasn’t been as good. Nothing succeeds like success. The more success you achieve, the more confidence you build. Now (lower-order players can think), ‘I can contribute useful runs every time I go out to bat’,” VVS Laxman concluded.