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Mace in India #6: Kuldeep Yadav makes a big splash

The debutant left-arm wrist-spinner returned 4/68 in the first innings to set up the eight-wicket series-clinching win against Australia.
Kuldeep Yadav

First Test, Pune: Australia won by 333 runs.
Second Test, Bengaluru: India won by 75 runs.
Third Test, Ranchi: Drawn.

That left the two teams with all to play for in the picturesque Himalayan valley of Dharamsala in the final Test, honours absolutely even and little to separate the two teams in terms of performances.

Steve Smith scored 111 in the first innings, the only century in the Test
Steve Smith scored 111 in the first innings, the only century in the Test


Part of the reason for India not being as dominant as many might have expected them to be was Virat Kohli’s form – he had scored just 46 runs in five innings with a best of 15 in the first three Tests. And there wouldn’t be a cometh-the-hour-cometh-the-man story in Dharamsala either, as he had done his right shoulder while fielding in Ranchi and was forced to miss the final Test. Ajinkya Rahane led, and went left field straightaway by adding a bowler – Ishant Sharma went out for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and instead of Kohli came in Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist-spinner making his debut.

Matt Renshaw fell early, but then David Warner and Steve Smith put together 134 runs for the second wicket. The momentum was with Australia. Till Yadav came in to the attack, bristling with confidence, unfazed by the occasion, in the 29th over. Lunch was taken at 131/1 but in the fourth over after the break, Yadav got one to turn and bounce off a full length to Warner, who stayed back and nicked to Rahane at slip.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane received the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from Sunil Gavaskar after the 2-1 series win
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane received the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from Sunil Gavaskar after the 2-1 series win


That made it 144/2, and soon enough it was 178/5 with Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell all falling to Yadav – the drift and turn, plus the occasional googly, kept the batsmen guessing.

Yadav didn’t get another wicket in the innings, ending with 4/68 as Australia finished on 300 with Smith scoring 111, and bowled only five wicketless overs in the second innings, but he had done his job, making a big mark on Test debut.

India went 32 runs ahead after the first-innings exchanges, and after Australia managed just 137 in their second innings, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picking up three wickets apiece, it was a simple stroll to victory, by eight wickets. And the series, so fascinatingly poised before the Dharamsala Test, was India’s – 2-1.

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