There were two positives for India to take away from the final one-day international against Australia, apart from the unexpected win: the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah and the batting of Manish Pandey.
Pandey will probably figure in more media reports as he was the man of the match for making an unbeaten 104 off 81 balls to see the tourists home. But Bumrah’s performance is more significant for India, given that its bowling stocks are not upto the mark.
Bumrah is not unduly tall but he seems to follow the traditional approach of the fast bowler of yore. He has an unusual action, with his right arm coming down from its maximum height just before delivery. He also is not afraid to attack the stumps and slip in the occasional yorker and does not look to merely contain the batsman.
Bumrah also seems to use the bouncer more intelligently than most of the others in the Indian team, occasionally getting the ball to rear up to an uncomfortable height.
Indeed so good was Bumrah’s debut performance that he was called on bowl overs 45 and 49; in the latter, he bowled James Faulkner with the first ball and conceded only three runs in toto. He ended with the excellent analysis of 2 for 40, the other wicket being that of Australian skipper Steve Smith whom he had caught at mid-wicket by Rohit Sharma.
Pandey’s batting can best be described as being uncomplicated. His hitting was clean and calculated. He did not seem unduly ruffled by the situation as his captain, M.S. Dhoni, dawdled at the other end, letting the run-rate climb. India needed 35 in the last three overs, before getting 13 in the 48th and nine in the 49th.
The final over bowled by Mitchell Marsh began with a wide before Dhoni clouted a six off the first legal delivery. The Indian captain was caught off the second but Pandey edged the third ball down to third man for a boundary and then lofted the fourth over the infield to take India home. Dhoni’s innings was painful, with his 34 coming off 42 balls. He is clearly only a shadow of the player he once was and the sooner he hands over the captaincy to Virat Kohli, the better.
Australia fell a little short of a better total than the 330 they put up as they got just seven runs in the last two overs. Mitch Marsh was on 98 at the end of over 48. Bumrah conceded three runs in over 49 and with Marsh intent on his hundred, runs were not the priority. The fact that Ishant Sharma hit Marsh a glancing blow in the groin region in the last over did not help Australia’s cause either.
India has given hints that it is more focused on the T20 games that follow by bringing in Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh into the squad.