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Why Umesh Yadav was not given a bowl before the 28th over against Australia

Umesh Yadav’s ability to bowl with the old ball proves a big boost as India reduce Australia to 256/9 at stumps on Day 1 of the opening Test in Pune.

cricket Updated: Feb 23, 2017 19:14 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Australia,Umesh Yadav,Virat Kohli
India's Umesh Yadav (C) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Australia batsman David Warner.(AFP)

India’s performance on the opening day was remarkable as their bowlers were able to reinforce the fears Australia batsmen had carried into the Test series straightaway in the first match on Thursday. (LIVE BLOG)

Given how India had routed every opposition in the matches so far this season, Steve Smith & Co knew their task was cut out against the home team’s bowling attack. (SCORECARD)

That Thursday’s destroyer turned out to be pace spearhead Umesh Yadav didn’t catch them by surprise. Immediately on their arrival in India, Australia coach Darren Lehmann had warned his men of the threat posed by the fast men, while all the talk centred around R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

YADAV’S LATE ENTRY

Lehmann’s fears came true at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium when captain Virat Kohli used Yadav to telling effect.

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Australia started the proceedings by confidently negotiating the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja as Kohli held back Yadav till the 28th over of the innings.

Till that point, the move had raised eyebrows among the experts, but Yadav struck in his very first over with the wicket of the well-set David Warner. Relishing bowling with the old ball, the Nagpur pacer finished the day with figures of 12-3-32-4.

UMESH’S REVERSE SWING

Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said opening with Ishant Sharma and the spin of Ashwin and holding back Yadav was a well-thought out move.

“Umesh is known to bowl very well with the old ball. Even in the series against England, he got the ball to reverse. We held him back expecting that we would get reverse swing very early in the innings.

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“It was a precise plan to hold back Umesh, and with two left-handers at the top of the order, we went with Ashwin and Ishant,” said Bangar.

SLOW-PITCH STALWART

The turnaround in Umesh’s bowling started with the way he bowled against South Africa in the last Test of the 2015 series at Delhi. On a flat, slow wicket, he was a revelation with how effective he was with the old ball. From there, his performance graph has gone upwards.

Explaining the improvement in Yadav, Bangar said what sets him apart is his balance at the crease. “He has definitely improved quite a lot, his stride in the crease has become shorter, his wrist position has improved, (and) since his lengths are far fuller, he is able to extract reverse swing.

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“He has worked very hard on his bowling and the results are there to see. In the last couple of series he has played on Indian wickets, he has shown that he can contribute, not only with the new ball but also with the old ball. He has done that (and) because of that, he has been instrumental. That is why as a team we have been able to enjoy as much success as we have got so far.”

One of the aspects that stood out in Yadav’s performance against Australia was how he continued to bowl with the same intensity till the end of play. Having got the initial breakthrough with Warner’s wicket, Yadav struck a double blow immediately after tea by dismissing Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon of successive balls. In between, he trapped Matthew Wade leg before.

First Published: Feb 23, 2017 19:04 IST