Jasprit Bumrah, who has picked up his maiden Test five-wicket haul in Johannesburg yesterday, has stated that he doesn’t want to delve much into the condition of the wicket and rather focus to win the game. However, he admitted that the team hadn’t played on such type of wickets earlier.
Indian batsmen failed to capitalize on Virat Kohli-Cheteshwar Pujara’s partnership and were bowled out for a paltry total of 187 runs in the first innings of the third and final Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. However, Indian bowlers helped the team harbour for the best by bowling South Africa out for 194 on an out and out pacy and bouncy wicket, which came in for severe criticism by former cricketers for being excessively helpful to fast bowlers and Sourav Ganguly, on Twitter, asked the ICC to take note of this. However, Bumrah, who was the most successful bowler for India yesterday, doesn’t want to discuss the condition of the wicket.
“Yeah, it’s a little different. We haven’t played on such a wicket, I would say that. But we are not too critical of the pitch because the match is going on, we can’t stay away from the topic. So that is the basic plan – don’t focus on the wicket. We are focusing on what we have to do right now,” Bumrah said about the pitch in the post-match presser.
On being asked if the surface was unfair for the batsmen, Bumrah took a safe route in his response and said, “It’s a little difficult to say that because some balls are up and down so that could be dangerous sometimes for the batsman. But we are not focusing on those things right now. We feel the match is in the balance right now.”
When Bumrah was picked ahead of Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma for the first Test of the tour, several eyebrows were raised for the fact that the Gujarat pacer hadn't played a single first-class cricket match in a year. However, with the condition helping him get purchase, Bumrah showed that he has it in him to be a good Test bowler for India. After taking the fifer, Bumrah stated that he had been talking to senior bowlers in the IPL to make sure that the transition was smooth for him.
"Not right now, but more in general, elsewhere, or maybe in the IPL, I have spoken to senior bowlers. That I always try to do wherever I play, because senior bowlers always have a lot of experience to share. I try to ask what has worked for them in Test cricket. So learning from them has always been the thing I try to do. All of the senior bowlers have given me this advice to keep things simple and not over-complicate stuff."
Yesterday, when almost all the batsmen failed to stand on the wicket for a long time, only Hashim Amla stood tall and adjusted to these conditions by shuffling well outside his off stump and taking his guard outside the crease to negate the chance of LBW dismissal. Bumrah bowled mostly full and straight, and tried to go behind his legs and was finally rewarded with his wicket.
"He was trying to shuffle a lot. The ball was doing so much that he was trying to do something else. So that was working for him. We thought that we will probably use one fuller ball straight up. So that could also give the message that we are trying to hit the stumps. All these battles are very interesting on such wickets so it's always challenging and you keep on learning when such challenges come. You are very happy whenever you get his wicket so I'm very happy. He was beaten a lot of times so we were happy that he got out hitting a full leg-side ball straight to square leg."