PUNE, India (Reuters) - India’s Umesh Yadav proved quality fast bowlers can thrive even on turning pitches by claiming four wickets to peg back Australia after the touring side’s strong start in the opening test on Thursday.
On a surface offering prodigious turn from the start, prompting former Australian spin great Shane Warne to call it a an eighth-day wicket, Umesh was not called upon to bowl until the 28th over of Australia’s innings.
India captain Virat Kohli started with paceman Ishant Sharma and brought his spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin into the attack in the second over, leaving Umesh to wait 100 minutes in the first session before getting to bowl.
David Warner and Matt Renshaw had added 82 for their opening stand by then, but Umesh needed just two deliveries to break the partnership when Warner dragged the ball onto his stumps.
“Umesh has been known to bowl well with the old ball,” India batting coach Sanjay Bangar told reporters, explaining it was a technical ploy.
”Even in the series against England you could see he got a lot of reverse swing. We had held him back, expecting that the ball would reverse-swing pretty early in the innings.
“It was the precise plan to hold him back and two left-handers at the top of the order, so that was the plan to use Ashwin with Ishant.”
Umesh, 29, later returned to dismiss Matthew Wade for eight before taking the wickets of Steve O‘Keefe and Nathan Lyon in successive deliveries.
Ashwin and his spin colleague Ravindra Jadeja - ranked number one and two in tests, respectively - picked up two wickets apiece.
“I think definitely he has improved a lot... He has improved his balance at the crease, his stride has got a bit shorter, and also his wrist position has gotten better,” Bangar said of Umesh.
“Since his lengths are far fuller, he is able to extract that reverse swing. I think he has worked very hard on his bowling and results are for everybody to see.”
Editing by Hugh Lawson