Aus declaration not surprising: Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up a wicket in the first over he bowled in international cricket, when he clean bowled Nasir Jamshed in a T20I against Pakistan in Bangalore last year. He followed suit on his ODI debut where he struck off first ball bowling Mohammad Hafeez through the gate with an in-swinger. But the 23-year-old medium pacer had to wait for an entire match to experience the feeling of picking a Test wicket. The Chennai Test was dominated by the Indian spinners, who accounted for all 20 Australian wickets, leaving debutant Bhuvneshwar wicketless.
However, he grabbed the first opportunity that came his way after that game by scalping David Warner in the first over of the Hyderabad Test. The skinny and shy pacer from Uttar Pradesh thus entered the Test wicket-takers’ club. As was the case in the shorter formats, Bhuvneshwar’s maiden Test victim was also clean bowled.
“It was a dream to play Test cricket for India. When I got my first wicket, I thought nothing could be better than this,” were all the words he could muster to describe the moment.
The delivery that got Warner was bowled with a slightly slanted seam – it pitched on the off-stump and jagged back into the left-hander. Warner, expecting it to go away, could only manage to play it on to his stumps.
After the first day’s play when Bhuvneshwar was asked about that peach of a delivery which sent Warner packing, the young man sheepishly said that he hadn’t planned the dismissal.
“I didn’t try to get the ball to nip back to Warner. It just came off the wicket,” he confessed. “In the first hour or so, there was something happening off the track. The wicket is a bit slow and the odd ball was keeping low. So I just tried to ball stump-to-stump,” the pacer said.
After getting rid of Warner, Bhuvneshwar came back to dismiss Ed Cowan in his second over. The biggest wicket, in terms of the game, however, was that of Shane Watson. The right-hander was batting beautifully, timing the ball to perfection, until an indiscrete moment cost him his wicket. Bhuvneshwar pitched one short, it kept low and Watson’s attempt at pull shot only resulted in him being caught plumb in front of the wicket.
However, when asked to pick his favourite wicket, Bhuvneshwar said, “All three wickets were very special because they all were top-order batsmen and they all have scored runs for Australia.”
Bhuvneshwar’s three for 53 in 15 overs rattled the Aussie top order and paved way for India to reduce them to 237 for nine. To the surprise of many, Michael Clarke declared the innings at that score to have a go at the Indian openers in the last few overs of the day. Bhuvneshwar said that the declaration didn’t come as a surprise to India.
“They knew with the last wicket they wouldn’t be able to score too many runs and hence thought they’d try and pick up a wicket in the last four overs. It wasn’t surprising,” he said.
At the end of the first day, the Indian openers were still at the crease with the score on five.