Birthday Boy Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Five Unforgettable Bowling Spells
File photo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
File photo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.(Photo: Reuters)

Birthday Boy Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Five Unforgettable Bowling Spells

Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave a glimpse of his wily bowling very early in his career.

Playing in Hyderabad in 2009 for his domestic team Uttar Pradesh, Bhuvneshwar handed Sachin Tendulkar his first and only duck in his entire domestic career. The then 19-year old lad from Meerut, bowled a perfect full delivery to get the mighty Tendulkar caught at short mid-wicket.

Nine summers later, Bhuvi continues to trouble batsmen with his medium pacers.

Bhuvi made his debut for India in 2012 in a T20 match against Pakistan, where he dismissed Nasir Jamshed in the first over. His ODI debut was far more romantic, where he bowled Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez with his very first delivery in the format.

Effective in both Tests and in the limited overs format, Bhuvi is now a regular feature in the Indian team.

In the 21 Test matches he has played till now, Bhuvi has managed to pick up 63 wickets at an average of 26.09. In ODIs, he has 82 scalps in 81 matches at an average of 37.28 and an economy of 4.98. With 23 wickets in as many matches at an economy of 6.98, Bhuvi’s has done decently in T20s too.

As Bhuvneshwar celebrates his 28th birthday, here is a look at his five memorable spells across all formats in his still short cricketing career.

1. 3/9 vs Pakistan, Bengaluru, 2013:

In his very first match for India, Bhuvneshwar rattled the top order of Pakistan with a spell of swing bowling at his best. Chasing a target of 134 in 20 overs, Pakistan were reduced to 12/3 in three overs after Bhuvneshwar dismissed Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. India lost the match but he ended the match with an impressive figure of three wickets for nine runs in four overs.

2. 4/8 vs Sri Lanka, Port of Spain, 2013

Bhuvneshwar produced a magical spell against Sri Lanka in Port of Spain in a reduced 50-over match. Chasing a target of 178 in 26 overs, Sri Lanka got bamboozled by Bhuvneshwar’s medium pacers.

He wrapped their top four batsmen in the first ten overs. His victims were Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne and Upul Tharanga, as he returned with the figures of four wickets for eight runs in six overs. India won the math and qualified for the finals of the tri-nation tournament which included Windies.

3. 6/82 vs England, Lord’s, 2014

Bhuvaneshwar couldn’t have asked for a better Lord’s debut. The Indian pacer made full use of a green top in the 2nd Test of India’s tour of England in 2014, and produced one of his finest spells in Tests. His 31 overs in the first innings yielded six wickets for 82 runs, which eventually prodded India to their first Test victory at the Lord’s in 28 years.

His list of victims included Alastair Cook, Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad. With his match winning bowling performance at Lord’s, Bhuvneshwar became the 12th Indian bowler to earn his place on the honours board at the iconic cricket venue.

4. 5/33 v West Indies, Gros Islet, 2016

Bhuvneshwar again displayed great swing bowling skills to pick up the third five-wicket haul of his Test career. Giving away only 33 runs in 23.4 overs, Bhuvneshwar picked the crucial wickets of Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood before wrapping up the tail. His spell gave India a 128-run lead, and they went on to win by 237 runs.

5. 4/8 v Sri Lanka, Kolkata, 2017

(Photo: BCCI)

After the first two days were lost to rain, India did well to push for a victory against Sri Lanka, who tried all sorts of trickery to delay the game in final day’s last session. The pitch at Eden, after being covered for two days, was giving enough assistance to seamers, and pacers from both sides did well to trouble the batsmen.

After working hard for his four wickets in the first innings, Bhuvneshwar looked unplayable on each of his deliveries in the second innings. He ended the innings with four wickets for eight runs and the match with eight wickets. India had to settle for draw as bad light stopped play.

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