Vital cog missing, wheels coming off
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In the injured Umesh Yadav, India are missing a vital cog in their bowling wheel. He doesn't run though sides and, in fact, looks all over the place at times, but with his pace and ability to reverse the old ball, Yadav plays a perfect foil to an aging Zaheer Khan.
Amid conditions that assisted reverse swing, his absence was badly felt on Friday as England ended the day with a 193-run first-innings lead that looks likely to swell even more as the visitors attempt to bat India out of the game.
On Day One, James Anderson rattled the Indian middle order with his reverse swing. But when India bowled, there was hardly any hint of it.
That, despite Zaheer being widely regarded as the master of reverse swing. But now 34, and struggling to get back to full fitness, he has been a bit off the pace. He did manage some reverse swing in the first session, but did it at a gentle pace. Anderson, with his extra yard of pace, naturally reaped better rewards.
Not much was expected of Ishant in terms of swing — conventional or reverse — because he relies more on movement off the seam after hitting the deck. Besides, he came into this Test under-cooked, having played just two first-class matches this season. In such a backdrop, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott thrived.
Contrast it with the first test at Motera where Indian fast bowlers, sparingly used, took seven wickets between them even as the spinners took the plaudits. Umesh accounted for four of them: Samit Patel in the first innings and Ian Bell, Patel and Stuart Broad in the second. Since then, India's pacers have taken only one wicket. At the end of the day's play at Eden Gardens, both Zaheer and Ishant had bowled 29 overs each and returned figures of 0/82 and 1/78 respectively.
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