It would have triggered another debate had R Ashwin advised Ravindra Jadeja to ask for a review when he was struck on the pads by Moeen Ali. But it did allow India take a peek at what debutant off-spinner Jayant Yadav could do with the bat.
Four years ago, Jayant had scored 211 and shared in a 392-run eighth wicket partnership for Haryana with Amit Mishra, the man he replaced here, ironically. Thus, he couldn’t have gone entirely wrong with the bat.
Having waited in the dressing room the entire first day, Jayant first showed his batting skills in a 64-run partnership with Ashwin before assisting Wriddhiman Saha in the crucial run out of opener Haseeb Hameed.
“Sometimes these kind of games are broken through run outs. And more than anything else, somebody like Jayant, making his debut and getting such momentum through a run out and then later on going to get a wicket, I am really happy for him,” Ashwin said after play.
There are nervous debuts and then there are debuts like Jayant’s, being gradually promoted at the highest level of the game. By the time he was handed the ball, the match was 161.4 overs old. Jitters taken care of, Jayant got down to demonstrating his main expertise straightaway, giving the ball loop when he faced Ali.
Having made Ali play within himself, it didn’t take much time for the off-spinner to break through his defence. The second delivery of his next over, Yadav kept it fairly straight when Ali came down the track and padded it, prompting the off-spinner to ask for a successful review after his appeal was turned down.
There was a bit of history between Jayant and England. In 2012, in only his fifth first-class game, he had taken four wickets against the touring England XI in Ahmedabad, including that of skipper Alastair Cook. Ashwin wasn’t surprised Yadav bowled and batted with such conviction in his first game. “Me and Jayant go a long way back. Actually, two-three years ago, he came down to Chennai, he was staying near my house for about two weeks,” said Ashwin.
“He practiced with me and I know the boy really well. He is someone who can really understand what I say and we have a very, very good rapport. I felt really happy for him, the way he came out and batted positively. His body language was great. Every bit of communication between us was auguring into the partnership getting deeper, so I kind of enjoyed it. Very happy for him to have got his first wicket as well,” he said.