First place in Wisden’s men’s ODI innings of the year countdown, part of the 2022 in Review series, is Jasprit Bumrah’s 6-19 against England at The Oval. Cameron Ponsonby reviews a phenomenal performance.
It was a near-unanimous decision: while one of the panelist ranked Bumrah’s spell as the second-best in ODIs in 2022, the rest put him at the top.
Jasprit Bumrah 6-19
England v India
The Oval, London, England
“There have been instances when I have bowled so much better than this and not gotten wickets.”
Even if Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t impressed with his record-breaking spell of 6-19 against England at The Oval, the rest of us were.
His figures were the third-best men’s ODI figures for an Indian in history and the best ever against England. So too, were they Bumrah’s finest return in ODIs. And whilst Bumrah was remiss to read too much into the result and instead focus on the process, it wasn’t a coincidence that such a special spell of bowling arrived when it did.
It was perfect fast bowling. Removing the top order with traditional seam and swing, before cleaning up the tail with yorkers. Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone were all sent packing within Bumrah’s first four overs to leave England reeling at 26-5, before he returned to the attack to mop up Brydon Carse and David Willey as England’s final two wickets. Seven wickets. 19 runs. Six wickets.
Root, one of Bumrah’s six victims, stated that this summer he would have rather faced the red Dukes ball than the white Kookaburra, such was the movement that bowlers were getting with a rare batch of white balls.
“They seem to be doing all sorts,” said Root. “It’s been conducive to a very different kind of cricket.”
It was a difference that Bumrah, along with his partner-in-crime Mohammad Shami, had noticed too. And so ahead of the ODI at The Oval, a venue he had already experienced past success at, they hatched a plan that they would abandon their traditional white-ball lengths in favour of pitching it up and engaging in some good, old-fashioned Test-match bowling.
“When we started the innings, we saw there was some seam and swing. So Shami-bhai and I had a conversation and decided we should bowl a little fuller and try and bowl the Test-match length. It was a good day that we got the wickets. And there was some help in the beginning, and the wicket was also on the softer side.”
Bumrah’s first over brought two wickets. Roy was bowled when, after two deliveries that swung back in wickedly and beat the right-hander on the inside, a third held its line and drew an inside edge onto the stumps.
Roy had lasted four balls, but Root would only manage two. As Bumrah debuted the away swinger for the first time in the over having relentlessly targeted the stumps and drew Root’s outside edge. One over, two wickets. And we were away.
At one stage, Bumrah’s figures were a scarcely believable 4-6: five of the runs had come through wides and the sixth a leading edge. The fact of the matter was that England couldn’t get near a bowler at the peak of his powers.
Bairstow was the third to go. Falling to a two-ball combination where the first delivery shaped viciously away before the next held its line to take the edge and fly through to Rishabh Pant who took a phenomenal catch behind the stumps. India could do no wrong. Whereas England could just do nothing.
The final wicket of Bumrah’s opening spell was Livingstone who was bowled behind his legs. Bereft of answers and with defence not working for any of his teammates, Livingstone charged at Bumrah only to immediately look a fool as his attempt to close the angle on Bumrah’s viciously swinging deliveries resulted only in him missing it completely, but the ball very not much missing the stumps.
Cruelly for all those watching, Bumrah was removed from the attack after five overs and a completed powerplay where the power had all been his as he simultaneously had the ball defying gravity and on a string all at the same time.
Returning to the attack he would take just 14 balls to finish off England’s innings and claim his fifth and sixth wicket; Carse, a passenger as Bumrah’s pinpoint 144 kph yorker crashed into his stumps, before Willey too had his wicket rearranged.
England all out for 110. It had been a display of skill, delicacy and brutality all in one. And in our opinion, the greatest ODI spell of the year.