India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah suggested that India missing a fifth bowler in their line up was a major reason behind them failing to bowl out England for a lesser score in their first innings, in the final Test at The Oval. The visitors started the second day firmly in control having reduced England to 198 for 7 at on the opening day. However, a familiar script followed where India failed to bowl out the lower-order cheaply and England finished on a formidable 332, guided by Jos Buttler's 133-ball 89.
After the day's play Bumrah said having a fifth bowler would have allowed the rest of the attack to be more fresh and effective. "When you have an extra bowler, it gives you some cushion while bowling."
"When you bowl with four bowlers, you to bowl more overs as you have to come back (to bowl) quickly. We bowled our hearts out yesterday as well as today because we bowled a lot of overs. Sometimes, having an extra bowler gives you more rest."
However, Bumrah did admit that the Indian bowlers failed to capitalise and let the English lower-order off the hook again. "Obviously, we were at a good position when we restricted them to 198/7," he said. "The reason behind their comeback in the game was two-sided – their tail batted well, but we failed to capitalise on the situation as a bowling unit as well."
"We tried to bowl in the right areas, but they applied themselves well. We plan for each and every batsman and give equal respect to every batsman. We tried to execute that today, but it didn't work."
Bumrah also heaped praise on Buttler, who yet again proved his worth as a Test player with a glittering half-century. He shepherded the lower order stringing important partnerships all through. The 28-year-old first added 33 runs for the eighth wicket with Adil Rashid (15) and then probably a match-defining 98-run stand with Stuart Broad (38) to take his side past the 300-run mark.
"He played well today and took his chances. When you bat with the tail, you don't have much to lose and you can play with a lot of freedom," said Bumrah. "Our batsmen have done that as well – we saw it in the first Test match when Virat (Kohli) was batting with the tail, he scored a lot of runs. That's a position where a batsman has a win-win situation. If it doesn't pay off, it's okay. If it does, it's a bonus for the team."