If Ajinkya Rahane came to India’s rescue with a superb century on the opening day of the Lord’s Test, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s turn on Friday. The medium pacer kept India in the fight with a four-wicket haul. He rattled England’s top-order and then returned to remove centurion Gary Ballance in the final hour.
“A good feeling to play at Lord’s. I have been watching cricket at Lord’s from my childhood, so good to come here and take four wickets. But what is more important is to try and dismiss them tomorrow,” Bhuvi said after stumps.
“The plan was simple… We were trying to stick to the off-stump line. The wicket was assisting the bowlers so it was important to stay focused and disciplined. It is important to be disciplined when bowling in such pitches where bowlers get some assistance.”
He, however, agreed that the wicket has eased out a bit. “Yes it has eased out a bit. The pitch has become a bit slower, especially after the first session and it is a bit easy to bat on. But there is still some assistance for bowlers if you hit the right areas.”
Bhuvi credited the bowlers for keeping the England batsmen under check. “The wicket became a bit easier for batsmen after the first session. We bowled in the right areas and kept them quiet. We did well to keep Ballance quiet, even his hundred was not an easy one. We didn’t give away any easy runs.”
He agreed that the conditions here have also played a role in his success. “You won’t get these conditions in India. You will get these conditions only if you are playing in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. I am really enjoying bowling in these conditions.”
Not just bowling, he has also been successful as a batsman. Bhuvi’s partnership with Rahane on Thursday played a big role in India reaching 295.
“I have been enjoying batting in England. The partnership with Ajinkya was really satisfying. The ball was moving around, and we were in a bad situation having lost seven wickets. So, from that point of view, it was a good effort and I think a better effort than in the first Test.”
He also didn’t forget to thank the support staff.
“Being a bowler, batsmen will always give tips at nets. And the support staff always say that No. 9, 10, 11 are crucial in Tests… we keep that in mind and try to bat well.”
Getting back to his bowling, Bhuvi said he learnt a lot from watching the English bowlers on Thursday. He was determined not to repeat the same mistakes. “England bowlers bowled really short and we learned from that. It is the kind of pitch, where you might get more wickets if you stick to a stump-to-stump line.”
He also didn’t forget to remind all about Dale Steyn and Praveen Kumar’s contribution towards his success.
“Praveen is my idol… I have watched him a lot from childhood. I had a talk with him before I came here. He is like a big brother for me and we play together for the same team (Uttar Pradesh). He still helps me in my bowling.”