Jasprit Bumrah is essentially a captain's delight. He can move the ball both ways with pace, has a quirky action and can bowl the marathon spells. It is qualities like these that the seamer was drafted straight back into the side moment he regained full fitness ahead of the third Test at Trent Bridge. On Thursday (August 30), Bumrah once again proved why he is such a great asset for India in all forms of the game.
With England batting first in good conditions, the new ball was key and the 24-year-old made sure he made full use of it as he nipped out two wickets inside the first session.
Keaton Jennings' dismissal, in particular, remained the talking point of the day. Not known for his in-swingers, Bumrah got one to move back in at the left-hander ferociously and the opener was caught right in front of his stumps in a position he'd rather wish to forget.
“Whenever a plan works it’s a good feeling,” said Bumrah at the end of the first day's play at Ageas Bowl, in Southampton. “A dream delivery? I don’t know about that, but it’s good when you get an early wicket so I’m very happy.”
Bumrah further added that the in-swinger had always been part of his repertoire emphasising that it was all about playing his cards smartly.
"It’s not a new delivery – I’ve always had it," he said. "I have the in-swinger and the out-swinger. I bowled that to Chris Gayle in the World Cup semi-final as well. I have many options, but you don’t want to use too many options in a single day – whenever you feel that option is suitable, then use it.
“I always try to add new things... It’s always better when you have options, then you are in a good space when bowling in the match. I want to keep on improving, add new deliveries so that it helps me in match situations.”
Bumrah finished with 3 for 46 in a 20-over spell as England were bundled out for 246. Things could have been much worse for the hosts - who at one stage were at 86 for 6 - if not for a gritty 78 from Sam Curran.
“He played well,” acknowledged Bumrah. “When he came into bat, he played a waiting game. He left the ball well. At that time, as the ball got older, it stopped swinging a lot – there was less seam movement as well and the wicket got slower.
“They played some shots and scored some runs. After the break, we decided that we’d have to create pressure again and work hard for a wicket.”
I wasn't proving a point: Curran
England seem to have unearthed a gem in Curran, who once again proved he belonged to the big stage as he rescued his side from a perilous position to a more respectable 246. The left-hander bided his time initially, stringing crucial with Moeen Ali (40) and Stuart Broad (17) before going for his shots.
Curran was dropped from the Playing XI for the Trent Bridge Test despite starring with both bat and ball in England's win in the first Test. Disappointed at being left out, the 20-year-old though insisted that he was not trying to prove a point.
“I was disappointed but at the same time took it as a positive,” said Curran. “You can’t really leave out someone who’s got a hundred (Chris Woakes). It’s a great squad at the minute, and everyone is fighting for their places. It’s a great place to be and there’s good depth in the squad.
“I wasn’t proving a point at all – I was just playing the way I do, naturally and freely.
“I was unlucky obviously last week to miss out. But I love being around the squad. There are some great names in the team and I’m learning so much.”
Curran's 78 went a long way in helping England eek out a competitive total, which at one stage looked out of their reach. The all-rounder said that he just backed his all-round abilities and played “naturally and freely”.
“I just tried to play my natural game,” he said. “I love being in the side and I almost played with no fear, tried to be nice and positive and get some partnerships – not try to overthink it. Luckily enough it came off and we have a decent score on the board."