Courtesy : Reuters
Bizarre ! Losing wickets in a heap inside a session on the fourth day at Headingley was incredible. That’s how Indian batsmen catapulted from a commanding position at 215/2 at the close of the 3rd day and crumbled under the feet of an incisive swing bowling spell from the English bowler. The Terminator, Ollie Robinson, used the ammunition of the second new ball.
It’s difficult to fathom a bowler, facing a dangling damocles sword on his head for a 5 match suspension in next two years for his boorish comments on his Twitter handle in his boyhood days which was haunting him, gave credence to his selection. . Those revelations surrounding Robinson are laced with a tinge of irony. It didn’t deter his spirit as he went about his business and made a mark in the English bowling attack.
The adulation of the rival captain that he is a “real find” and his own Captain’s assertion of”phenomenal” are indications of what will be in store for the tall and suave Ollie Robinson, who had a rich haul of 5fer at Headingley which decisively took the game away from India as India nosedived to a meek surrender and lost the Test by an Innings & 76 runs.
When India were sitting pretty at 215/2 at the close on the 3rd day with Chateshwar Pujara finding his form and Kohli playing a second fiddle to him. It seemed India would bounce back in the second essay like a rear guard action of India way back in 1967 when the young captain Nawab of Pataudi did it here. But alas, Indian fans’ expectations were belied as this young man in his fourth test dented India’s hope with his persistent line and length. Ollie Robinson’s “ace up my sleeves” performance with the red cherry tormented Indian batsmen and they were clueless to face him with the second newball.
Robinson’s five scalps in the second Indian innings was breathtaking. His candid admission that he learnt tricks from the senior pro, GOAT, Jimmy Anderson about gripping the seam, cadence repeatable action and his ability to thump out an excellent, consistent, probing length. He also produced a knuckleball – changing his grip even as he gathered to deliver – which also demonstrated his range of skills.
His 7 wicket haul in the Test also earned him the Player of the match award and with 16 wickets he’s the leading wicket taker of the 5 match series of either side.
In fact with his stock ball the one delivered with a wobble seam got Kohli who was circumspect around outside off stump as the ball drifted and straightened as Kohli edged it in the slip cauldron and was held by his English counterpart.
Next in his armoury was the innocuous delivery which darts back into the batsmen. He also moves the ball in both ways sometimes confuses the batsmen and Chateshwar Pujara’s case was a classic example. Pujara padded up an outswinger which would have hit his off stump and was plumb in front of the wicket. Then there was a pageantry show of Indian batsmen walking to the pavilion as Craig Overton, a doppelganger of the ace swimmer, Michael Phelps giving the finishing touches to Indian innings.
Robinson eulogises the services of Jon Lewis, the bowling coach whose methodical approach helped him to hone his skills.
Ollie Robinson grew up as a seam bowler bowling a variety of slow balls, seldom bowling offspin. He was no rabbit with the bat. In fact he was a power hitting lower order batsman.
Under the tutorship of bowling coach Jason Gillespie at Sussex he furthered his reputation as one of the new ball bowlers of Sussex.
On his debut against the visiting New Zeland a few months back at Lord’s he had a dream debut taking 7 wickets in the match and in just 4 Tests he had 23 wickets including two 5fers against the visiting Indians.