Former Indian middle-order batsman VVS Laxman has observed that the Indian bowlers fixed their line and lengths against England after learning in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand. On Day 1 of the first Test, Indian pacers blew away the English batsmen for a meager 183, before reaching 21/0 at stumps.
Comparing it with the performance in the loss against the Kiwis last month, Laxman explained that the bowlers probably worked the right lengths out during net sessions. He said:
“It was a fantastic effort from India, right from the first over Bumrah bowled. The mistakes that were made in the World Test Championships final, I think they have rectified it and the only way to do so was by going to the nets, training, working on the areas of concern.”
The pace bowlers shared the wickets amongst them, with Jasprit Bumrah roaring back into form with 4/46. Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, and Shardul Thakur chipped in with three, one, and two wickets respectively.
“Bumrah and Shami were in top rhythm” – VVS Laxman
After opting to bat first, England was knocked back in the very first over. They lost Rory Burns to Bumrah’s classic Test setup. The nagging line approach was adopted by Shami as well, who was rewarded with wickets on either side of Tea. The duo being in full flow is essential for India and Laxman felt the same.
“Bumrah and Shami bowled the right lengths as one has to be effective in English conditions. To win a Test series, a team needs to have two or three bowlers in top form and what we saw on Day 1 from Bumrah and Shami is top rhythm,” he reckoned.
Throughout the day, there was a lot of swing on offer with the old Duke’s ball even reversing after a while. This proved to be England’s undoing along with their own poor shot-making. An excellent day in the bowling department was backed up by the openers when they walked off unscathed at stumps.