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Umesh Yadav impresses in audition for third seamer’s slot

Umesh Yadav dealing early blows and bowling economically would push his case for a rare Test appearance outside India.

Umesh Yadav grabbed three wickets. (File)

The highly-rated Western Australia all-rounder Cameron Green filed yet another reminder of his potential with an unbeaten 114 in crisis, amidst encouraging performances from Indians’ seamers Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj as well as spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Yadav grabbed three wickets, while Siraj and Ashwin nabbed a brace apiece as Australia A ended the second day of the warm-up against Indians at 286/8, a lead of 39 runs after the tourists had declared on 247/9.

In the first audition for the third seamer’s slot for the Adelaide Test, Yadav put in an imposing shift with the new ball, accounting for what could be the new-fangled opening pair for the first Test, Joe Burns and Will Pucovski. The latter hung around for 22 deliveries before he was caught at point when driving Yadav before the Indian bowler induced a nick off Burns to the wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Pucovski’s last three knocks had featured two mammoth double hundreds, but he could not kick on to a meaningful score this time. Burns, on the contrary, had been in wretched form, his last five outings yielding only 57 runs.

Yadav dealing early blows and bowling economically would push his case for a rare Test appearance outside India. But with stiff competition from Siraj and Navdeep Saini, he needs to keep producing such spells in every opportunity that dwells on him. Maybe, he could get another bite of the red ball later on the third and final day, though the priority of Indians’ would be to get adequate batting practice after a slew of them had endured a harrowing time in the first innings.

With Yadav impressing, it was vital that Siraj kept himself in contention with a clutch of useful performances. A wicket eluded him in the first spell, but he came to break an innings-steadying partnership by Travis Head and Marcus Harris. The pair had resurrected Australia A from 5 for 2 to 60 for 2 before Siraj removed Head to put his side back into the game. Soon, they were 68 for 4, when Ashwin had Harris caught at slip for 35. Indians’ bowlers sniffed a quick kill, which would have enabled their batters some more useful time in the middle as well as allowed their bowlers an extended dig on the final day.

But Green put paid to their aspirations with a sumptuous hundred, fully justifying the hype that surrounds him. He bowled penetratively without success and batted with unrestrained freedom, his 114 consuming only 173 deliveries. Many in Australia reckon that he should be straightaway handed out the Baggy Green and he might have done himself a big favour by showing his class right in front of Australia skipper Tim Paine. They added 104 runs to help Australia cross 200 after Ashwin had trapped Nic Maddinson in front of the wicket for 23 runs.

Green dealt Ashwin with authority, even slamming the clever spinner for a massive six. Likewise, he dealt the seamers with conviction, though Yadav was unfortunate that Hanuma Vihari grassed a catch when Green was on 24. Saha, too, dropped him, on 78. But Green made the best of his fortune and compiled his third three-figure mark of this year.

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Brief scores: Indians 247/9 dec (Pujara 54, Rahane 117*; Pattinson 3-58, Neser 2-55, Head 2-24) trail Australia A 286/8 (Harris 35, Green 114*, Paine 44; Yadav 3-44, Siraj 2-71, Ashwin 2-58) by 39 runs.

First published on: 08-12-2020 at 08:36:35 am
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