SK Player of the Day: Jasprit Bumrah for an outstanding 5/54 at Johannesburg
For many, he was a surprise inclusion in India's Test squad for the tour of South Africa with only 26 first-class matches under his belt, the last of which came in January 2017. For many, he was selected for Tests owing to white ball abilities with which he could deliver accurate yorkers and pinpoint back of the hand slower balls.
But Jasprit Bumrah got his first Test wicket of a rampaging AB de Villiers for 65 at Cape Town when a ball at 140 kmph pitched on off-stump and swung back in to rattle his stumps. In the second innings, he bagged three, including the opposition captain Faf du Plessis for a duck and De Villiers again when he was looking to up the ante. He ended with 3/39 and four in the match.
At Centurion, a track renowned for its pace and bounce but surprisingly slow and low with varying bounce – all Indian qualities – Bumrah jagged back two deliveries to remove Aiden Markram and the big Hashim Amla. Towards the end of the innings, Du Plessis again fell to the bowler.
Throughout the series, Bumrah, with his unique bowling action and a trembling run up, maintained discipline with the red ball by consistently bowling in the corridor of uncertainty to right and left handers alike; when asked to bowl short to the tail, the 24-year-old obliged and hammered bouncers at their bodies.
Persistence to bowl outside the off stump and adapt to the tracks yielded him five wickets at Johannesburg: Du Plessis – again – when the right hander shouldered arms to one that pitched just on off stump and moved in to disturb the woodwork; Quinton de Kock, who attempted a drive but found an inside edge to the wicket-keeper; Amla, whose flick to utilise the bowler's pace and earn runs resulted in catch to deep sqaure leg; Andile Phehlukwayo, who missed one swining in despite being a full toss; and number eleven Lungi Ngidi with a short-pitched ball, with the top edge resulting in a catch behind the stumps.
In his third Test, after all the surprise elements, he walked back with his maiden five-for: 5/54 on the opposition's soil. With the Johannesburg surface aiding substantial seam movement and swing with good bounce, Bumrah might return to haunt South Africa, who have to bat fourth on that track.