Indian pace ace Jasprit Bumrah revealed the secret to the brilliant delivery that dismissed Australian southpaw Shaun Marsh on Day 3 of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday (December 28).
"When I was bowling before lunch, the wicket was not doing a lot and the ball had become soft," Bumrah told cricket.com.au. "Rohit was there at mid-off and he said, ‘it’s the last ball, you could try a slower ball’. He told me that I use it quite a lot in white-ball cricket and I could still try it. The execution was good and we got a wicket off the last ball.
"(I have to thank Rohit) for the suggestion, obviously. The wicket is on the slower side and sometimes the batsmen play with hard hands, so (the slower ball) could come into play. So that was the plan," the paceman, who picked up 6/33 to skittle out Australia for 151 in reply to India’s 443/7 dec.
Bumrah’s yorker was 30kmph slower than his previous stock ball and completely bamboozled Shaun Marsh, who was trapped dead in front of the stumps. Bumrah’s fine show revolved around bowling full-pitched deliveries, his dismissal of Marcus Harris with a short ball showed all of the Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s bowling plans worked perfectly.
Bumrah struck Harris on the helmet on Thursday (December 27) evening and had also done so in the second Test in Perth, with the Australian telling cricket.com.au before play that he would look to play Bumrah’s bouncers instead of evading them on a wicket that was providing inconsistent bounce to the quicks.
"Whenever we bowl any kind of delivery, we always discuss it with the captain," the 25-year-old speedster said. "So we tried to set the field according to that. We saw four of our batsmen got out on the short ball, so we kept an eye on what was happening on the wicket … it was difficult to negate the short delivery. So that was the plan and we got a wicket so it's a good day."
With Bumrah bowling from the Southern End, skipper Kohli employed a pair of catching fielders around 15 metres from the bat on the leg side to Australia's left-handers, one just behind square and one in front.
The field placing meant Harris risked popping a catch to one of the close fielders if he opted to ride a bouncer and push it away on the leg side. Instead, the left-hander attempted a full-blooded pull shot at a well-directed Bumrah short ball and top-edged a catch to Ishant Sharma at deep fine leg.
In his first year of Test cricket, Bumrah has now taken five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England and Australia and his performance on Friday was the best-ever by an Indian in Tests at the MCG.
Having represented India in T20 and ODI cricket for almost two years before he was handed his Test debut, critics suggested Bumrah's action was not ready for the rigours of the longer format. But he insists he always believed he could thrive with the red ball as well and praised his junior coaches for throwing out the textbook and encouraging him to persist with his unusual bowling style.
"I've been lucky in that no one has tried to change my action," he said. "They thought if I change my action, I'll lose the things that I have. So I've been lucky with that and I've always tried to make my body stronger.
"I've done relatively well in first-class cricket … so I was always confident that whenever I got the chance, I would be able to do well. I used to love playing four-day cricket back home. I've always wanted to play Test cricket and living the dream is the best feeling," Bumrah, who bowls with a slingy action, said.