MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

'Chinaman' Kuldeep Yadav & milestone man Ravichandran Ashwin team up to cast spell of spin

Dismissal at stroke of lunch more or less showed England’s culpability against spin, their capitulation has gone from bad to worse in this series, having not learnt from their mistakes

Indranil Majumdar Dharamshala Published 08.03.24, 10:17 AM
Kuldeep Yadav bowls out Zak Crawley, England’s first innings top-scorer, on Day I of the final Test in Dharamsala on Thursday; (right) Ravichandran Ashwin with his family after receiving the 100th Test cap before the start of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England

Kuldeep Yadav bowls out Zak Crawley, England’s first innings top-scorer, on Day I of the final Test in Dharamsala on Thursday; (right) Ravichandran Ashwin with his family after receiving the 100th Test cap before the start of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England

Kuldeep Yadav can be mystifying and mesmerising at the same time. Ollie Pope realised it again and was nowhere near as the ball drifted with the angle.

Following a pair in Ranchi, England’s hero in the opening Test seemed in a hurry. Pope loves to dominate and step out against the spinners but it didn’t work this time. He rushed out to clip the googly through the on-side and was playing for the one that turned into him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sensing his intentions, Kuldeep left him perplexed with the drift and turn. Dhruv Jurel didn’t need to exert himself in completing the stumping. A stunned Pope waited for a while, threw his head back in frustration before walking back.

The dismissal at the stroke of lunch more or less showed England’s culpability against spin. Their capitulation has gone from bad to worse in this series, having not learnt from their mistakes.

The collapses have lost their rarity but the manner in which Kuldeep, the chinaman exponent, and then Ravichandran Ashwin brought about their downfall iterated their dominance in what was supposed to be seamer-friendly conditions. England are staring at a 4-1 loss and their worst humiliation ever in India.

On deciding to bat first, England lost five wickets for eight runs in the afternoon session, the last seven wickets falling for 43. Kuldeep snared five and Ashwin celebrated his 100th Test with four for 51 as the visitors reached 218.

India closed the day at 135 for one, trailing by only 83 runs.

Till early Wednesday ev­ening, Kuldeep wasn’t certain of his chances as the think-tank dithered over including three spinners or three pacers. The debate was triggered from the pace-friendly record here this season, while the cracks on the surface hinted at help for the spinners.

Kuldeep looked like a man possessed in the morning, out to establish that only 12 Tests isn’t a fair reflection of his ab­ilities since making debut here in 2017. England struggled with his variations and pace and he was simply indecipherable to most batters during a 15-over unchanged spell.

“Bowling is all about fitness. Have worked a lot on my fitness in the last 18 months, I have been able to make certain changes in my bowling...This also allowed me to bowl long spells,” Kuldeep said.

He got the breakthrough in his first over after the Engla­nd openers had managed to thwart an incisive opening spell of seam and swing bowling by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

Kuldeep spoiled Jonny Bairstow’s landmark Test, Joe Root was pinned leg-before by Ravindra Jadeja and the wrist spinner then removed Ben Stokes — the third time in four innings — at the same team score of 175.

The England captain had no answer to the wrong’un as he once again played from deep inside his crease.

“The ball was gripping... I was using the drift well on both sides. The more you play, the easier it becomes to control. I don’t think much, always try to stay relaxed,” Kuldeep said.

Kuldeep and Siraj wanted Ashwin to lead the players off the field in his milestone Test. But Ashwin insisted Kuldeep deserved it more than him and even handed the ball back to the wrist spinner since it was his moment to savour.

“I’ve already got 35 (five-wicket hauls). You keep this ball with you,” Ashwin told Kuldeep.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT