Kyle Jamieson and the ‘masterful’ art of setting up Indian batsmen

In the last two years, New Zealand’s bowling attack hasn’t been just restricted to the three old-guards of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner with the emergence of the lanky pacer, in the form of Kyle Jamieson. Against India in Southampton in the big WTC Final, he put on a masterclass.

Kyle Jamieson isn’t your ordinary bowler, he isn’t set up that way. He isn’t in-your-face when he is running in to bowl, he isn’t as quick as some of the former New Zealand greats but the things he does makes him stand out from the rest of his teammates. Until the tenth over of the first innings, India were in a far-comfortable position, at 37/0 against two of New Zealand’s best bowlers – Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

In the next three overs, it changed, India were back to square one, holding themselves back tenderly from poking the ball. The height, the release point and the late seam movement had planted the seed in the Indian opener’s doubts. Barring Shubman Gill, who scored a boundary off the first over, Rohit Sharma was caught in two minds – whether to take the front-foot or to hang on to the back – which in eventuality, resulted in his dismissal.

In fact, it took Jamieson only one delivery to dismiss Rohit, so how in reality did he go about setting up the right-hander?

Rohit Sharma c Southee b Jamieson 34 (88m 68b 6×4 0x6) SR: 50

Having thrown about five overs to his partner at the striker’s end, Gill, Jamieson finally got the opportunity to take a chance against the experienced of the openers, Rohit and his plan was simple, to make him play. From the other end, there wasn’t too much pressure from all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, who wasn’t getting the Indian batsmen to play many deliveries, with wide outside the off-stump line.

Well before Grandhomme’s spell, Tim Southee was the closest bowler, who got the Indian opener to have a go at the ball, bowling outside the off-stump, where Rohit had also survived a close edge. So the plan, in reality, remained unperturbed, to get the right-handed opener to go for a drive, having scored 13 runs in the last 34 balls, leading to his dismissal.

Jamieson against Rohit Sharma © ICC

Jamieson’s delivery to Rohit was the perfect plan, wide outside the off-stump but still in a length (4m) which was full enough for the right-hander to drive, with a possibility of getting an outside edge. As it turned out, the opener had weathered the storm pretty hard before that only to succumb to the delivery, which was one of the few wide deliveries that he played in the innings. However, this time, at a length of 4m, which was close enough to plant that doubt and his front-foot, which was in no place.

Virat Kohli lbw b Jamieson 44 (196m 132b 1×4 0x6) SR: 33.33

At one point in the World Test Championship final, Indian skipper Virat Kohli had a control shot percentage of nearly 90%, showing no signs of weakness, or not showing enough to trouble him. Until then, in that first session before the lunch on day two, it was only Collin de Grandhomme, who was getting the ball outside the off-stump. He had just got two deliveries, where he got runs against the all-rounder. But barring that, de Grandhomme stuck to his length, which was around the 6-8 m mark, which was on the shorter end.

The two left-arm pacers – Trent Boult and Neil Wagner – had got their length slightly on the back-foot, which was from the 4m mark to the halfway line, where they targetted to move the ball slightly away from the Indian skipper. But Tim Southee showed the perfect line, for Kohli, with his channel utter perfection, causing the 32-year-old to take the defensive approach, something that he isn’t familiar with, attacking well below his career average. In fact, he only took on the balls that were closer to his pads, for runs.

Against pacers, in his Test career, if there is one area where Kohli was found his weakness in, is from the 6-8M length, where he has been dismissed 45 times against the pacers. Now in England, the same devil has haunted the Indian skipper 11 out of his 17 dismissals, where Kohli only averages 19.8 against the bat, which showed that New Zealand were well-aware of the right plans.

Jamieson’s plans against Virat Kohli © ICC

Now, the setup, how did Jamieson do something that the others could not get it bang on? 6M, the golden length, something that the Kiwi bowlers had worked very well in tandem. Leading to the dismissal, all the deliveries that the Indian skipper had faced against the lanky pacer was not hitting the stumps, not one, which allowed Kohli to trust the proceedings blindfolded. However, Jamieson found his perfect ball, on the fifth stump channel, which seamed back sharply to catch the right-hander by surprise, the setup! The only ball that hit the stump!

Rishabh Pant c Latham b Jamieson 4 (31m 22b 1×4 0x6) SR: 18.18

Jamieson vs Pant – the battle of David and Goliath – one that had the potential to spring the game in one team’s favour. The setup against the left-handed Indian batsman was a classic one – get it out of the reach, tempt the batsman and get him to err his technique. The pacer hit his straps up front but it was always going down the leg-side. His second over against Pant was by far the best over of the first innings, in fact, might even become the best over of the day.

The Kiwi pacer had realised that there was an apparent weakness in the left-hander’s technique, his feet movement, which was putting him in a real tangle. The umpire’s call was a rather tough decision, which might have swung the deal in either direction. But the plan was clear, Pant was not holding back, he wasn’t as patient as some of the other Indian batsmen, despite having played 19 deliveries without scoring a run.

Jamieson vs Pant © ICC

Another almost-LBW decision, Pant got off the mark with a boundary against Jamieson. However, two deliveries later, the lanky pacer was back at it, tempting the Indian wicketkeeper to drive the ball outside the off-stump, where he was dismissed eventually, another plan right in play, knowing the left-hander’s approach in International cricket.

Ishant Sharma c Taylor b Jamieson 4 (28m 16b 0x4 0x6) SR: 25

Against Ishant, Jamieson didn’t get a lot of deliveries barring the one that he got in the 90th over, where he bowled a booming in-swinger against the Indian pacer. While Ishant got himself a single off that delivery, the lanky Kiwi pacer changed his line the second time. The first delivery swung away from the right-hander before two came back sharply into the right-hander, one marginally missing the stumps.

Swing, bounce and a line that was tempting, Ishant had to just take the bait, which he did, getting out for a 16-ball 4, having weathered the storm for 28 minutes thus far in the innings. Another batsman, who was devoured by Jamieson’s line and length.

Jasprit Bumrah lbw b Jamieson 0 (3m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0

In all fairness, Jamieson didn’t really need a lot of time – read three minutes – to set up India’s No.10, Jasprit Bumrah. His first delivery, a booming in-swinger, something that he has done to several batsmen, tail-enders in the past, came back to haunt him, giving Jamieson his fifer, in the most crucial contest for New Zealand, in the final.

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