Home » Kuldeep Yadav’s once in a 100 years performance rips apart England in 5th Test, India spinner rewrites record books

Kuldeep Yadav’s once in a 100 years performance rips apart England in 5th Test, India spinner rewrites record books

The stage was set for India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and England’s Jonny Bairstow. It was their 100th Test match after all. And both of them got a fair opportunity to leave an immediate impact. They can still produce a match-winning performance in the second innings – Ashwin, in fact, didn’t even need to wait that long. He polished off England’s tail – But Day 1 of India vs England fifth Test belonged to, without an iota of doubt, Kuldeep Yadav.

India’s Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with his captain Rohit Sharma (R) after taking the wicket of England’s captain Ben Stokes(AFP)

It may seem unbelievable that there was a reasonable double over Kuldeep’s place in India’s XI for this Test purely because of the conditions in Dharamsala. India captain Rohit Sharma “seriously considered” playing three seamers because of the damp and cold weather conditions. There was no way they could have dropped Ravindra Jadeja because he was not only a premier spinner but also a No.5 batter now. Ashwin was slated to play his 100th Test. So if India were playing three seamers, Kuldeep would have had to sit out. But they didn’t. And Indian fans would be breathing a sigh of relief they didn’t.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

Kuldeep ran through England’s top-order in the first two sessions in a display that would make the best of wrist spinners marvel. The first couple of wickets were a bit of a gift. Ben Duckett ran down the wicket and heaved across the line only to get a top edge for Shubman Gill to take a brilliant catch running backwards.

In the last over before Lunch, Ollie Pope, who wasn’t picking which way the ball was going, decided to sprint down the wicket to a point of no return. The ball turned past his bat and Dhruv Jurel inflicted one of the easiest stumpings of his life.

The first two wickets in the morning session may not have come on brilliant deliveries but it was the other balls that deserve the credit. Kuldeep was in rhythm. It was the same ground where he picked up a four-wicket haul on debut seven years ago against Australia. It’s a bit of a mystery that he played only 10 more Tests in all this time and the venue didn’t host a single Test.

Kuldeep Yadav’s record-breaking reunion with Dharamsala

But a reunion it was. Kuldeep reserved his best for the second session. He became the quickest Indian bowler and the quickest spinner in world in the last 100 years (in terms of bowls bowled) to pick 50 Test wickets. He took only 1871 balls to reach 50 Test wickets. In terms of matches played, he was the joint six-fastest Indian along with Subhash Gupte, Erapalli Prasanna, and Axar Patel.

He also became only the third left-arm spinner and the first from India to claim more than 50 Test wickets. South Africa’s Paul Adams and England’s Johnny Wardle are the other two.

Kuldeep could have got rid of Zak Crawley (79 off 108) on the second ball of the day but India opted against DRS for a catch.

But the 29-year-old spinner did not have to wait long thereafter as he got one to turn massively from the imaginary fifth stump to shatter the England opener’s leg stump. Both the inward drift and the sharp turn led to Crawley’s dismissal.

Jonny Bairstow (29 off 19), who like Ashwin is playing his 100th Test, showed plenty of intent in his innings but could not last long. Like the other batters, he could not read Kuldeep from his hands and got a faint outside edge off a googly.

He went for a review but ended up wasting it, exactly what Joe Root (26) and Ben Stokes (0) did on the same score of 175. Jadeja trapped Root in front with a straighter one after beating the English batter’s outside edge on the previous ball.

Stokes was the fifth victim of Kuldeep who had the opposition skipper plumb in front with a googly. Kuldeep ended up bowling 10.3 overs in the session. It was Kuldeep’s fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Ashwin then polished off the England tail to finish with figures of 4/51. England were 218 after opting to bat.