Venomous Yadav laps up plaudits
When Umesh Yadav was steaming in and bowling those quick reverse-swinging deliveries, there was talk about how the Test could possibly end inside three days.
The manner in which Yadav exploited the flat deck in the morning session was quite incredible. After producing a brilliant delivery to get Soumya Sarkar caught behind on Day One, he trapped Mominul Haque in front with a brutal delivery that swung just enough to stay in line with the wickets. While he got just one wicket yesterday, he troubled the batsmen quite a bit.
And it was because of his spell that the Tigers moved into their shell in the morning session yesterday, which eventually led to them losing more wickets. Had it not been for his burst, the Tigers probably would have been in a strong position at the end of Day Three.
In particular Shakib Al Hasan, his Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) teammate, was beaten by pace on a number of occasions.
“There was not much on the pitch. Because we play for KKR I know him very well. This was probably the best spell I have ever faced in my Test career. He was tremendous. The way he was moving the ball both ways, some balls were unplayable.
“The best I could do was hit the balls that I thought I could and try not to nick the ones that I couldn't. I played those with soft hands. I feel lucky that I survived his spell,” Shakib said at the post-day press conference yesterday.
India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar also praised Yadav and his pacers.
“All three seamers were able to get the reverse swing, but Umesh with his pace and the lengths that he bowled was good. Bhuvi [Bhuvaneshwar Kumar] can bowl the conventional swing, but Umesh can swing it both ways. Umesh's length allows him to swing with the new ball and also the old ball.
“He's worked a lot on his wrist positions and balance at the crease. Ever since the Delhi Test match against South Africa, you've seen him giving the breakthroughs that the team requires,” explained Bangar.
“It's seen that spinners have to do the bulk of the wicket-taking, but our seamers have chipped in with crucial wickets right at the top or in the middle of the innings where the spinners were not able to get the breakthroughs.
“So I think the reason for that many Test victories is not only the contribution of spinners, but small contributions the pacers have made. That's why Umesh stands out because I believe that he's the most improved bowler in the last season and a half,” he added.