In a series that was anticipated to be dominated by spinners, pacers have surprisingly taken center stage in the India vs. England Test series, particularly in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. With the series level at 1-1, the discussions about the effectiveness of pacers on spin-friendly pitches have gained momentum.
Jasprit Bumrah, India’s leading pacer, has been in exceptional form, emerging as the top wicket-taker in the series. With 15 wickets from two games at an astonishing average of 10.67, Bumrah showcased his skill with a six-wicket haul in the first innings of the second Test, followed by three crucial wickets in the second innings.
On the other side, James Anderson, England’s experienced pacer, made a significant impact upon his return to the playing XI in the second Test. Anderson, who didn’t feature in the first Test, picked up three wickets in the first innings and added two more in the second. His inclusion proved crucial, especially after Mark Wood failed to make an impact in the series opener.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke lauded the performances of both Anderson and Bumrah, acknowledging their excellence on a pitch that didn’t offer much assistance to seamers.
“James Anderson, with the ball was phenomenal in the 2nd Test, on a flat batting pitch that did not have much for the fast bowlers. And Bumrah, what can you say! He is a freak. His skill use in conditions that are not conducive to fast-bowling, uff, it’s unbelievable. He is a freak,” remarked Michael Clarke during an interview with ESPN.
Clarke dismissed the notion that Anderson is only lethal in English conditions, emphasizing his exceptional records both at home and away. He highlighted Anderson’s invaluable contribution to the England team and expressed confidence that the veteran pacer still has a lot to offer.
“His record in England is crazy. There is always talk that he can only play in his own backyard. But he continues to show that’s not the case. I think he is a significant part of this team as well. I think Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum like him being a part of this group. And it doesn’t look like he is going to stop. If he keeps bowling the way he bowled in the second Test match, he has got a lot more cricket left in him,” added Michael Clarke.