James Anderson felt that Jasprit Bumrah “wasn’t trying to get me out” in that much-talked-about 10-ball over at the fag end of Day 3 of the Lord’s Test. But the Indians may have had bigger fish to fry than the wicket of the England No.11. By riling up the England team, they capitalised on the resultant edge that contributed to a memorable win.
Bumrah’s barrage didn’t get him Anderson’s wicket – that went to Mohammed Shami with a full ball targeting the stumps in the next over – but it did contribute to the dismissal by disturbing the mindset and foot-movement of Anderson, who is known to be a stubborn customer with the bat at times.
Here’s revisiting the over and the drama around it.
The scene is set
Anderson had faced just one delivery – that too a wayward one from Mohammed Siraj that yielded a bye – before Bumrah started his 26th over. He was wicketless in that innings.
With skipper Joe Root batting serenely on 170 at the other end, Anderson’s brief would have been to swell the England lead – which was 12 at the start of the over – as much as possible. He would have watched the pitch being slow and wouldn’t have been prepared for what he encountered.
“I got caught off guard a little bit because all the batters coming in were saying how slow the pitch was. Banged in short, it was really slow. When I came out to bat, Joe Root said Bumrah was not bowling as quick as he normally does,” Anderson said on the BBC Tailenders podcast.
Over and over again
This is how that over panned out.
Ball 1: From round the wicket, a bouncer from hell. A laser-guided projectile honing in on the left-hander’s face. Anderson fends at it, but is hit on the grill. There’s an appeal for a catch at gully, but the ball hit neither bat nor glove.
Anderson is given a concussion test and his helmet is changed before he takes guard for the next delivery.
Ball 2: Another short ball hits the No. 11 in the ribcage
Ball 3: Another one targeting the ribs. Anderson gets bat on it this time. It loops up on the onside but there is no short-leg to go for the catch.
Ball 4: Bumrah oversteps. Another short ball towards the ribs which Anderson manages to keep down.
Ball 5: Now, Bumrah resorts to the full ball around off-stump. Anderson pushes it to the point fielder and seeks a single to get off strike, but Root sends him back.
Ball 6: A yorker this time, which Anderson just about manages to dig out with the inside edge. The ball hits his pad and is going back towards the stumps. An alert Anderson kicks it away. What’s more, it’s another no-ball. The No. 11 is not enjoying it, despite runs being added to the team’s tally.
Ball 7: Back at the body, but Anderson deals with it better this time, taking the top hand off the bat. He gives Bumrah a stare.
Ball 8: A short ball just outside off-stump, and Anderson lets it go. He may have heaved a sigh of relief thinking it was the end of the over, but Bumrah had overstepped again.
Ball 9: Bumrah tries another yorker, but it’s misdirected and down the legside, and another no-ball – the fourth of the over.
Ball 10: This time, the yorker is on target but Anderson is equal to the task. Finally, the over is over.
Root steps up
The England captain had seen enough from the non-striker’s end and decides to take matters into his own hands. Off the first two balls of the next over, bowled by Siraj, Root resorts to the reverse ramp over the slip cordon and a hoick over midwicket to collect two boundaries. He gives Anderson two balls to survive in that over, which the left-hander does without much difficulty.
The last act
India captain Virat Kohli brings back Mohammed Shami for the last over of the day. Root defends the first two deliveries. The third one, he flicks to deep midwicket but turns down the single. But he is happy to cross over on the next ball, again giving Anderson two deliveries to see out the day.
A short-of-a-length ball is pushed into space in the off-side. There’s a single for the taking, but Root refuses it. It’s another no-ball, which means Anderson still has two balls to survive.
He is beaten outside off-stump on the next one, but the final ball of the day – a full one on the stumps – elicits a half-hearted drive from the England No. 11. The delivery eludes the bat and pad to hit the top of the off-pole, bringing to an end a brief, but engrossing, passage of play.
Was it ironic, or predictable, that for all the short stuff aimed at Anderson, it was a regulation length ball that got his wicket?
As the players walk off, Anderson is seen having a few words to say to Bumrah. We clearly hadn’t seen, or heard, the last of the story.