A stop-start second day of this rescheduled fifth Test was dominated by the man with the staccato run-up as Jasprit Bumrah, not content with inflicting the most expensive over in history on Stuart Broad, sliced his way through England’s batting line-up.
Just 38.5 overs of play were possible due to rain interruptions but though maddening for the crowd, this proved enough to advance India’s position in the match and a series they lead 2-1. At the close, after the weather finally relented to permit an intense hour of late action, England had crumbled to 84 for five in response to India’s 416 all out.
Bumrah was irresistible in between the cloudbursts. The first seamer to captain India since Kapil Dev in 1987, any thoughts of being a genuine all-rounder like his forebear are usually between himself and the bathroom mirror. But as he walked off at stumps the smile said plenty, his earlier 16-ball unbeaten 31 having seen Broad suffer a 35-run meltdown in one over and figures of three for 35 with the ball truly ruinous.
These strikes had vaporised the top three of Alex Lees, Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope when the late session began but it was the removal of Joe Root for 31 by Mohammed Siraj that may prove most telling. Fluent early on, England’s number four was skittish after England resumed on 60 for three and as he leaned back attempting to guide a four behind square, the ball decked back in lavishly and feathered an edge behind.
It meant Jack Leach striding out with 20 minutes remaining but he lasted just five balls, the nightwatchman immediately dropped in the slip cordon before being cramped for room by Mohammed Shami for another caught behind. Jonny Bairstow at least looked solid for his unbeaten 12, while it will be fascinating to see whether Ben Stokes continues his summer of outright aggression when he resumes on nought first thing.
Until this final instalment played out in bright sunshine it had been a day when thoughts often turned to the old Brumbrella that for 20 years until 2001 spread across the entire outfield at Edgbaston whenever the heavens opened (only for repeat malfunctions and concerns over the effect on the pitch to see it rolled away for good in 2001).
A sell-out Saturday crowd spent the bulk of the time in a state of drizzly limbo, shuffling around the concourses waiting for official announcements and keeping the bar staff busy. They at least had a bit to discuss, with the hard-handed nature of England’s top order collapse one topic to chew over, the plans to India’s tail another.
Bumrah’s cameo with the bat came in the morning as India trowelled a further 78 runs on to their overnight 338 for seven and furthered the impact of Rishabh Pant’s 146 on day one. Ravindra Jadeja converted 83 into a third Test century for another Rajput sword dance celebration, while Jimmy Anderson whistled up the 32nd five-wicket haul of his career with five for 60 from 21.5 overs; to think, he turns 40 later this month.
Broad also became the fifth Test cricketer to reach 550 wickets when a bouncer to Shami gave England their first incision, the number nine’s attempted uppercut over the single slip gratefully pouched by Leach. But in the 84th over, after Anderson had terminated Jadeja’s hugely diligent knock, bowled on 104 attempting to thrash the second new ball, things rather unravelled for him.
Set on a short-ball plan – the type that backfired last summer when India’s tail flipped the Lord’s Test –Broad pounded in eight times for six legitimate deliveries that resulted in five wides, a no-ball, four fours, two sixes and a madcap single to finish it off. Bumrah’s bat ended with a few cherries on its edges but he had gumption in abundance; Broad, 15 years on from Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in the 2007 World T20, could expect another avalanche of Indian well-wishers on his social media accounts.
Soon it was back to the day job for Bumrah and in the three overs before rain brought an early lunch he dispensed with Lees, bowled by a ripper that angled in and passed through a yawning gate. After the first 75-minute delay break for rain Bumrah then found himself on a hat-trick when Crawley’s struggles continued with an uncertain fence to third slip. Root, out there with the score a familiar 27 for two, somehow survived as another lash of Bumrah’s bullwhip action whizzed past his outside edge.
He and Pope made it through to the next interruption unscathed but during a 40-minute passage of play between 3.15pm and 3.55pm the latter fell. For the third time in the day it came off the final delivery of an over extended by a no-ball, Pope teased into a booming drive on 10 and edging to second slip. Pope looked to the heavens in disgust but if there was anyone up there, they were smiling down on Bumrah.