India vs WI: Shardul Thakur's loss was Umesh Yadav's gain
It was a massive heartbreak for Shardul Thakur that he could bowl only 1.4 overs in his debut Test innings. Thakur had been in the squad for almost 2 years before he got his opportunity to be in the Playing XI.
After bowling his tenth ball of the match, Shardul Thakur hobbled off the field with a groin injury. In all probability, Thakur won’t take any further part in the second Test. If it happens, it will be a sad end to what was expected to be a promising debut. Not an ideal debut at all.
Shardul Thakur’s loss was his opening bowling partner Umesh Yadav’s gain. By the end of the tenth ball of the Test match, India were reduced to 10 players and 4 regular bowlers. Umesh Yadav was the only fast bowling option left. As a result, he got more number of overs to bowl than his usual quota.
Umesh bowled 26.4 overs, the second most by an Indian bowler in the innings, and took 6 for 88. This was his best bowling performance in Test matches. Had Shardul Thakur been present at the other end, Umesh would not have got that many overs.
Umesh Yadav’s first spell of 6 overs with the new ball at the start of the innings was uneventful. Kohli brought him back just before lunch when the Windies were comfortably placed at 56 for 2. Hetmyer eased him through cover for a four in the first over of his second spell. In his second over, Hope punched him to the point boundary.
In his next over, Umesh very nearly got Hope as India’s review was turned down as Umpire’s call.
The West Indies scorecard read 82 for 2 and they were about to win the first session of the Test match when Umesh came on to bowl the last over before lunch. Off the third ball of the over, he trapped Hope in front of the wicket and India got their breakthrough just before lunch.
By now, Umesh had bowled 10 overs in the session and got his first wicket in his tenth over.
Post lunch, India resumed with both the Yadavs – Umesh and Kuldeep- after lunch. Umesh went wicketless in that 3 overs spell. He came back for another spell just before tea with the West Indies score on 181 for 5.
He struck with his second ball when he hit Dowrich on the knee-roll but the umpire turned down the appeal. Kohli went for the review and to Umesh’s relief, the ball tracker showed the ball hitting the leg-stump flesh. Umesh once again gave India the breakthrough just before a break.
After tea, Chase and Holder were going great runs with their century partnership and it looked like the Windies would go into the day without losing any further wickets. When the Windies score reached 274 for 6, Kohli took the new ball in the 87th over. Holder completed his fifty pulling Umesh to the mid-wicket boundary.
In his 22nd over, Umesh strangled Holder down the leg-side and forced him to glove it to the keeper. His extra pace with the second new ball surprised Holder and it was an important breakthrough for India.
Umesh Yadav finished the first day’s play with figures of 23-2-83-3. This was the first time that Umesh had bowled 23 overs in a day in a Test match.
Team India started the second day with Umesh Yadav. In his very first over, he sent Bishoo’s off-stump cart-wheeling, a great sight for a fast bowler.
At the other end, Roston Chase duly completed his fourth Test Century. A tremendous inning under enormous pressure. Umesh had his 5 wicket haul when he cleaned up the well-settled centurion Roston Chase with a full delivery.
Off the very next delivery, Umesh terminated the West Indies first innings getting rid of Gabriel. Umesh Yadav finished with 6 for 88, his best figures in a Test match.
Before the second Test match started, the match was vitally important for 3 players namely K.L. Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav. Except for Rahul, the other two have made use of the opportunity to express themselves just before the tough tour of Australia.
In the absence of Shardul Thakur, Umesh got more number of overs to bowl and he justified his long spell with more number of wickets. He will be a very difficult bowler to handle if he lands the ball in the right areas at his pace. With his full-length deliveries, he is bound to get more batsmen out either bowled or trapped LBW.
Umesh would be the ideal bowler on fast and bouncy Australian wickets. He had a successful series in Australia in the World Cup in 2015. With Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya under an injury cloud, Umesh will get his opportunity to bowl on favourable conditions.
Yadav’s performance against the West Indies in the second Test at Hyderabad will have a huge positive impact on his future performances.