Thursday, February 23, 2017

1st Test: How India"s plan to bring Umesh Yadav late worked vs Australia

India pacer Umesh Yadav has Australia’s David Warner clean bowled while Matthew Renshaw watches from the non-striker’s end on Day One of the first Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune yesterday. Warner scored a 77-ball 38 with six hits to the fence. Pic/AFP 

Pune: It looked like the perfect Indian script. The pitch was dry, and offered turn as early as in the second over. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja bowled viciously spinning deliveries, over after over. It looked like it was only a matter of time before either Ashwin or Jadeja will run away with another five-wicket haul. But in the end, the only man that came close to it was Umesh Yadav, as his four-wicket haul helped India restrict the Australians to 256 for 9 at the end of Day One of the first Test at the MCA stadium here yesterday.

Despite the Indian spin trio beating the outside edge of openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw on a number of occasions, it seemed the Aussies might go into lunch without losing a wicket. But Yadav’s introduction in the 28th over, described later by Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar as part of a well-thought strategy, changed that. Yadav broke the 82-run opening stand when Warner inside edged him onto his stumps.

Batting coach Sanjay Bangar

“We knew the ball was going to reverse pretty early on this dry surface, and that’s the reason Umesh was held back,” Bangar said at the end of the day’s play.

Having bowled just three overs in the first session, Yadav had plenty of energy to bowl his next two spells. His testing second spell didn’t earn the hosts any wicket, but his third spell proved to be decisive. He got rid of Matthew Wade, Steven Okeefe and Nathan Lyon in that spell in really hot conditions reducing the visitors to 205 for nine. And if not for Mitchell Starc’s heroics with the bat in the final hour, India could well have batted for a few overs on the first evening. Yadav has been the most successful of the Indian seamers’ in the current home season. His 16 wickets in eight Tests, this match included, are second only to Ashwin and Jadeja. It’s no wonder then that he’s played ahead of the experienced Ishant Sharma for the past few months.

“He has developed very well. His final stride has become shorter, his balance in the crease has improved, and so has his accuracy. He has worked hard on his bowling and the results are there to be seen,” added Bangar.

Yadav’s accuracy was evident from the fact that his economy rate was even better than the ever so accurate Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav on a spin-friendly track.

On a day when half centuries from Matt Renshaw (68) and Mitchell Starc (57 not out) have given Australia a decent score, it’s Umesh Yadav who has helped the hosts keep the game in balance.

Five Number of times pacer Umesh Yadav has dismissed David Warner in 10 Test innings

Live Today
India vs Australia: 1st Test, Day 2, Star Sports 1, 3, HD 1 & HD 3, 09:30

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