The amount of work the tail-enders had put in during the one-and-a-half month period between the World Test Championship (WTC) final and the first Test at Trent Bridge, that ended last week, paid off as the lower order stood up at Lord’s and delivered for the second consecutive Test.
Mohammed Shami (56 not out off 70 balls) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out off 64 balls) added unbeaten 89 runs for the ninth wicket on Monday to help India reach 298/8 in the second innings before they declared. Their knocks eventually helped the team score India’s the third-ever Test win at the venue, considered the home of cricket.
“When we were most successful, our lower order was contributing, we went away from that a bit away from home but they are putting in the hard work with the coaches. The belief and the desire is there, to do the job for the team,” said skipper Virat Kohli after the match.
In the first innings of the first Test too, the Indian team was struggling at 205/7 before the last three batsmen added 73 runs. Bumrah had scored 28 while Shami made 13 in that innings.
On Monday, their 89-run partnership was the highest for the ninth wicket for India in England, beating the 66 between Madan Lal and Kapil Dev in 1982.
During the first Test, K.L. Rahul had pointed out that the tail-end batsmen had worked a lot on their batting at nets.
“Bowlers have worked very hard. We have been in the UK for two months. They have been working very, very hard on their batting and with our batting coach as well. They are spending a lot of time on their batting as well as their bowling, which is their primary skill. It is really good to see that level of application and dedication. They also feel they can contribute 30-40 runs in the lower order. It is crucial in countries like England,” Rahul had said.
Batting coach Vikram Rathour, who R Ashwin had recently credited for helping him improve his batting, had also said that the tail-enders had spent a lot of time at the nets during the one-and-a-half month period between the WTC final and the first Test.
The runs by the lower order have been a blessing for the Indians as their middle-order has struggled during the ongoing tour.
Former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman tweeted his appreciation.
“What a wonderful partnership between Shami and Bumrah. They may not have the best of techniques but from experience, i can say that bowlers have a big heart,” he wrote.
The Indian tail had been a worry especially after their insipid performance during the WTC final in which India lost their last four wickets for 12 and 14 across two innings.
But Monday’s show will give them hope and England a big headache.