MELBOURNE (Reuters) – India captain Virat Kohli says the world’s top batsmen will have reason to fear Jasprit Bumrah after the talented young paceman put Australia to the sword in the third test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Bumrah, named man of the match after India’s 137-run win, dismissed Pat Cummins (63) to pick up one of the last two wickets required on Sunday and finished with career-best figures of 9-86, the biggest test haul by an Indian quick in Australia.
Bumrah now leads the series with 20 victims, three more than Australia spinner Nathan Lyon, heading into the fourth and final test in Sydney, where the visiting side will aim to secure India’s first series win in Australia.
Having only made his test debut against South Africa in Cape Town in January, the 25-year-old from Gujarat finishes a stellar 2018 with 48 wickets from nine tests at an average of 21.02.
Kohli said Bumrah was a man “obsessed” with his cricket and convinced of his ability to conjure wickets on any surface.
“He thinks, ‘How can I make a breakthrough for the team?’ Your mindset separates you from the rest and he’s as strong-headed as I’ve seen anyone in the past,” Kohli told reporters after his team took a 2-1 lead in the four-test series.
“And that’s the key to his success. What I’ve seen in the last 12 months is the way he has matured in test cricket and the way that he is bowling so soon, so quickly in his test career, I think is a very scary sign for all the batsmen around the world.
“I mean, in test cricket if there is a pitch like Perth, I wouldn’t want to face Jasprit Bumrah, to be honest, because once he’s on a roll he can really crank it up.”
Kohli was thrilled with the way his team bounced back in Melbourne after losing the second test at Perth Stadium, where they opted for four pace bowlers rather than picking a spinner.
India declared twice at the MCG to set Australia a daunting victory target of 399, and the bowlers skittled Tim Paine’s side for 151 and 261 in a total team performance.
After paceman Ishant Sharma claimed the final wicket when Nathan Lyon gloved a hook shot behind, Kohli charged in from the slips, leapt and punched the air in jubilation before wrapping up the long-haired bowler in a bear hug.
Well might the skipper be pleased. The only other time India won two tests in Australia was in 1977-78, when the home side were weakened by the World Series Cricket breakaway.
While a Bob Simpson-captained Australia won the deciding fifth test in that series, Kohli is convinced his own side can break new ground Down Under.
“You have to give everything that you have to win a series … to win a series away from home, it has to be an obsession,” said Kohli, who has now won 11 tests away from home, equalling the India record of former skipper Sourav Ganguly.
“Hats off to the whole team for sticking together, believing in themselves and being obsessed.
“Nothing is going to distract us from winning that last test. We’ve never been in this position, we’ve worked really hard.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)