In his budding Test career, Umesh Yadav may not have endured as toilsome a day as this Sunday. Apart from reverse swing, the pitch offered negligible assistance for pacers and a set of safety-first batsmen prolonged their angst.
But creditably, Yadav, the latest entrant to India’s pace firmament, exemplified qualities that inspire faith in his potential. He strode in aggressively and bowled at full-tilt throughout, though the rewards were merely two scalps, the wickets of a well-established Ian Bell and Samit Patel. “I am extremely happy with the result for the conditions were extremely tough. I think the pitch has become better for batting and was coming on nicely onto the bat. It has become slower as well. So for us (pacers) as well spinners, it was a really tough day,” he said.
The focus, hence, was on length than line, though he didn’t compromise with his pace either, aggregating 140kmph upwards. “There was no carry at all so there wasn’t any point in bowling short of length. So I decided to bowl a fuller length and on the stumps. Also, there are better chances for getting a wicket as they tend to play fuller balls. Pace wasn’t my first priority,” he said.
Also in their way was the English skipper. “He was very compact and gave us no chances. He didn’t play any false shot and blunted us. We tried everything but nothing worked out,” he admitted.
Having let England off the hook, he said India would seek an early wrap-up. “In such conditions, you have to be patient. We showed a lot of that today and we got breakthroughs. We will try the same tomorrow and try and get them out as early as possible. So in the end getting two wickets was satisfactory,” he said.
England batting coach Graham Gooch reckons India still has a stranglehold over the contest. “India are still the favourites. Anyone who knows cricket would agree to that. But we won’t think too far ahead but would deal with the first ball, then the second, the third and like that,” he said.