Not long ago, spin was India’s primary weapon in home conditions. Most Tests were played on rank turners. The fast bowlers were there but not as protagonists. The strategy is different now as India possesses a pace pack — a first of a kind — with Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah, who is currently nursing an injury.
After India bowled out Bangladesh for 150 in the first Test on Thursday, with seven wickets going to the pacers, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin admitted "this is the best bowling attack" he has seen.
“I think our fast bowlers have been in really good rhythm. There is something happening in every spell they bowl or they make it happen.
“I personally thought all of them have been bowling well in a pack and if you add Bumrah to that, it is one of the lethal pace bowling attacks going around in the world if not the best. They are right up there,” he said after the end of day’s play.
India vs Bangladesh: Shami, Umesh, Ishant rule day one
It is not that the pacers are the only ones calling the shots. There is a fair amount of share and care that happens in the middle. Against South Africa, the spin-pace ratio of claiming wickets were 9:1 and 5:5 in Visakhapatnam, 5:5 in both innings in Pune, 4:5 in both the innings in Ranchi. However, gone are the days when India would rely and insist on a rank turner to do well in a Test match.
“I had no instruction from the team management. I knew the strength of both the teams, and I prepared the wicket accordingly,” Samandar Singh Chouhan, head curator at the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, told
The pace scare
It seemed the Bangladesh batsmen were slightly defensive against the Indian quicks after the dismissal of skipper Mominul Haque. They let pass deliveries that could have been driven and swung their bats out to the ones outside off.
But Ashwin praised Bangladesh for being “brave” enough to decide to bat on a lively wicket at the Holkar Stadium. “The No. 10 and No. 11 batsmen can move away from the stumps to play the quicks but that happens with most No. 10 or 11. We thought they would bowl but they batted. Some of the batsmen, including Mominul, batted beautifully,” he said.
Quicks over spinners
The pacers ruling the roost is perhaps a good problem. Ashwin understands that. “My job is to pick up wickets, get into a rhythm and build a spell. Taking nothing away from the fast bowlers, look at Umesh [Yadav] and how phenomenal he has been giving us early breakthroughs. Ishant has been splendid with the new ball and Shami has been special.”
No Bumrah, no problem!
Ashwin was robbed off a couple of wickets as three catches were dropped; two by Ajinkya Rahane and one by Wriddhiman Saha. “Ajinkya has taken many catches off my bowling. You don’t expect him to put down catches. We are benchmarking him against his own standards. It can happen, I am expecting him to take more catches in the second innings.”
“I felt this pitch has more bounce than some of the other wickets in India. If you look at Ranchi and what we played on today, it is chalk and cheese. Probably that’s one of the reasons why the slip catches were going at a fast clip. Many of the wickets in India is a little more duller than this.”
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