How Team India survived with just one pacer - Umesh Yadav!

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2018 17:29 hrs
umesh yadav fifer in hyderabad test

A Test match that Shardul Thakur would do well to forget turned out to be a memorable one for Umesh Yadav at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. The Vidarbha Express registered his maiden 10-wicket haul as India cantered to victory in the 2nd Test against the West Indies to complete the 2-0 whitewash. And Umesh's efforts are sure to be regarded as one of the finest fast-bowling spells ever bowled in India.

Surprisingly, this Hyderabad wicket has become the first Indian pitch after eight years to witness two or more fifers by fast bowlers. Umesh bagged one (the other was taken by Jason Holder) and in the process became only the third Indian fast-bowler to bag a 10-wicket haul at home. Yadav, who missed out on a hattrick twice in this very match, has the fourth best strike-rate among fast bowlers who have played at least 10 Tests in India.

Earlier on Saturday, Yadav resumed his spell on Day 2 and it took him no time to take the three remaining overnight Windies wickets. Yadav achieved his career-best figures of 6/88. It was Yadav’s second fifer and the first haul of six or more wickets by an Indian fast bowler at home since 1999 when Javagal Srinath took six-for against New Zealand at Mohali.

The Vidarbha express took the prized wicket of Windies top-scorer Roston Chase (who became the first West Indies batsman to score a century in India since 2011) and Shannon Gabriel in successive deliveries which has now put him on a hat-trick in the second innings. The quality of Yadav’s spell can be assessed by one fact that four of Yadav’s victims were either bowled or LBW.

One should also note that Yadav was without a fast bowling partner after the unfortunate injury to Shardul Thakur on Friday, when the debutant had to leave the field after bowling just 10 deliveries. Therefore, he had to carry out the responsibility of two pacers on his shoulders especially on a surface which wasn’t offering any significant assistance to pace bowling.

Did the team management err by fielding three spinners or is it just that Umesh Yadav was too good? The latter has to be correct because we all know that we don’t get to see such kind of fast-bowling spells on Indian tracks.