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IND vs AUS, 1st Test, Day 1: Player of the day – Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: BCCI)

The long-awaited series between India and Australia got underway at the MCA International Stadium in Pune with the visitors batting first after winning the toss. It was a pitch that clearly had plenty to offer for the spinners and as a result, Ravichandran Ashwin opened the attack from the other end with Ishant Sharma.

The spinners did produce a lot of turn, but it was the fast bowler Umesh Yadav who was the major destructor for India. He took 4 wickets for 32 runs in 12 overs and caused a collapse in strong going Australian batting line-up which was reduced to 256/9 at the end of day’s play.

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Yadav wasn’t given the new ball and was introduced to bowl in the 28th over when the opening partnership between David Warner and Matt Renshaw had added 81 runs. Off just the second delivery of his over, Yadav provided India the first and the much-needed breakthrough before lunch. Warner poked at a delivery outside off and the ball took the inside edge to dismantle the stumps.

Then he was brought back for his third spell of the day in the 76th over and the 29-year-old produced a brilliant spell with the old ball. His slight slinging action and the pace make him an ideal foil for reverse swing bowling which is exactly what he did when he picked up 3 wickets in the space of 4 overs.

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First, it was Matthew Wade who was trapped right in front of the stumps by Yadav from around the wicket and the umpire did not have any hesitation in raising his finger. The batsman reviewed it but it did not go in his favour as the ball was headed towards the outside part of the leg-stump.

The credit for the next wicket needs to go more to the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha than to Umesh. Steven O’Keefe flashed hard at an away swinger from Yadav and the ball flew to the right off Saha and he dived full length with both his feet off the ground and literally plucked it out of the air.

Very next ball, Nathan Lyon was foxed by a fast in-swinger that hit him on the pad and the umpire once again obliged to the appeal. Lyon reviewed but was of no avail. It was too good a delivery for a number 10 facing first up.

The right-hander was bowling above 140 clicks consistently which is the prime feature of his bowling. In a day where the spinners were expected to grab the wickets for which the visitors had done all the hard work to tackle, it was an Indian fast bowler that did the damage.

He has surely become the trusted pacer for Kohli with the old ball, the reason why he wasn’t bowled with the new cherry. Mohammad Shami had been playing that role in the past for India until he got injured but did India miss Shami here? The answer is no as Yadav has raised his game a notch in the last few matches to become the premier fast bowler in the team.

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