How a ball change changed the whole complexion of England’s run chase  – SportsMediaz

Indians were on their knees, pleading with the umpires to change the ball that had bled 106 runs in little over 20 overs. They had tried at least 4-5 times but every time the umpires put it through the ring, the ball would slip through.

England openers meanwhile were on the ascent, slamming the bowlers on the up and driving them to disarray. “Indians are looking rattled,” Nasser Hussain would say on air at one point. Until then, even Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami couldn’t coax any movement from the ball. Finally the ball failed the ring test on the fifth ball of the 20th over and things began to change miraculously. Next over, Bumrah brought himself back on and landed a foot outside off stump on a length.

Until then, those deliveries would just shoot on almost straight. And so Jack Crawley, who had judiciously left most of the outside-off balls from Bumrah and Shami, shouldered arms to this one as well. Mistake. It changed paths, jagged in to gatecrash Crawley’s party. Bumrah stood there, with a smile, his eyes following Crawley. 

“The magician has done it,” Sanjay Manjrekar would scream on air and it certainly was a magic delivery – but with little bit of help from the replacement Dukes. The fact that nothing was happening before exaggerated the movement of this replacement and everyone was as stunned as Crawley. Tea break intervened soon and upon resumption, Bumrah carried on where he had left off. This time, off the first ball of the last session, a crafty straightener sucked Ollie Pope into a fatal edge. Under pressure, England batsman’s brains began to scramble. Joe Root called Alex Lees for a risky run, and the opener, whose daring batting had much to do with England’s position of strength, was run out.A replacement ball with a bit of devil in it, and the wizardry of Bumrah and Shami had utterly transformed the run chase. The Dukes ball has been of concern this English season with county teams, England, and New Zealand complaining about it at various stages.

Dilip Jajodia, the owner of the company that manufactures the Dukes ball, had told The Indian Express ahead of the Test that though they haven’t identified the definite cause for the balls losing shape as yet, he suspected its due to problems in the tanning process.

“My guess is, there’s some technical problem in the process of tanning which goes back months. We actually still haven’t identified what the problem is. Because the process of tanning and colouration is very important and if something goes wrong, if somebody adds a certain percentage of chemicals that’s not quite right, the dye.”

Just ahead of the Test series against New Zealand, Stuart Broad was openly critical of the ball in his column. “They have not swung and because they are going soft very quickly, neither is there any bounce,” Broad wrote in his Mail on Sunday column. “Things have been so bad that we have had to change the ball two or three times every innings. It has felt like bowling with a rolled-up piece of Plasticine and the balls are that soft you feel like you can squeeze them even before you have bowled a ball with them. 

The original ball that Indians had must have felt like a rolled up plasticine; the replacement certainly hasn’t.

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