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Sri Lanka v India ODI Series, CT Player of the Series: Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah bagged 15 wickets in the series and was by far the leading wicket-taker

Jasprit Bumrah India v Sri Lanka
Indian cricketer Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

As if the beating of the Tests wasn’t enough, India piled on the Sri Lanka’s misery to enforce yet another whitewash of 5-0 in the ODI series. It was a completely dominant performance from the Virat Kohli-led side and the hosts were no match for the force of the opposition. Although there were plenty of players who did well for India yet one man that stood out was Jasprit Bumrah.

The fast bowler was outstanding throughout the series and ended up being the leading wicket-taker. He bagged 15 wickets in 5 matches and second highest wicket-taker was Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya. The margin of 6 wickets just goes to show the impact that Bumrah had on the Indian victories.

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Amazing Stats

His figures in the 5 matches read 22/2, 43/4, 27/5, 32/2 and 45/2. He had an economy rate of mere 3.93 which was the second best after Axar Patel’s 3.85. The average was just 11.27 and the strike rate was a supreme 17.33. The stats are daunting and on an average, he picked up a wicket every 3 overs.

The story of all the matches was pretty much similar. Jasprit Bumrah would take wickets with the new ball to rock back Sri Lanka early. Then there would be a partnership that would steady the ship and just when it would be ready to up the ante, Bumrah would come at the death and dismantle the lineup to restrict them to a paltry score.

On four out of 5 occasions, Sri Lanka batted first. The Indian batsmen never had to chase a huge score because the pacer had ensured that the opposition didn’t run away with the game. Sri Lanka scored 216, 236, 217 and 238 while batting first and Bumrah picked 13 wickets in those 4 games.

His bowling in the 3rd game in Pallekele was the best of the lot as he bagged figures of 10-2-27-5. The 23-year-old became the first Indian bowler to take a five wicket haul since 2014 when Stuart Binny did it last with a 6-fer against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Filled in for Bhuvneshwar

India had rested Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami for the limited overs series and so, the onus was on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah for the pace department. Shardul Thakur was the 3rd frontline seamer in the side but he wasn’t given a chance until the 4th ODI. Hardik Pandya was also there but it was primarily Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah that had to take the responsibility.

But as it turned out, the experienced Bhuvneshwar failed to pick up any wickets in the first three ODIs. Although he did bowl well yet somehow, the luck wasn’t in his corner and he couldn’t add to his tally of wickets. It was only in the last match that he came back amongst the wickets and bagged a fifer.

Bumrah was handling the fast bowling department alone and had to cover up for Bhuvneshwar’s inefficiency. He did the job beautifully and ensured India were on top every time.

Not just a death bowler

Prior to the series, Bumrah had an identity of being primarily a death overs specialist. His yorkers and the changes of pace had earned him that reputation. But in this series, he showed that he is equally capable of bowling with the new ball.

In the first match, he wasn’t given the new ball and he ended up bowling only 6.2 overs. But in the next 3 games that followed, he shared the new ball attack. The most pleasing aspect of his bowling was the modes of dismissals that he inflicted. It wasn’t just bang-bang on the stumps but there were a few caught behinds or in the slips.

He bowled at good lengths with the new ball and troubled every Sri Lankan batsman. There was hardly anyone who tackled him well. When it came to bowling at the death, he came back with his usual yorkers and slower ones that gave him 6 wickets by dismantling the stumps.

Increasingly, he is becoming the go-to bowler for the skipper Virat Kohli. At any stage, if he needs wickets, he turns to Bumrah and more often than not, he delivers. Most importantly, there weren’t too many no balls that have haunted Indian cricket in the recent past.

Bumrah is continuously growing in stature and would be a vital cog for the future of Indian cricket and for the 2019 ODI World Cup. For now, he is the CT Player of the Series for a wonderful outing in the island nation.

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