Sometimes, the smallest of margins separate a bad day from a memorable one and yesterday was pretty much a day of fluctuating fortunes for spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Despite being taken to cleaners initially, Yadav made a brilliant comeback and deceived three batsmen back to back to pick up a hat-trick.
But, at first, yesterday’s match seemed to be a deviation from the norm as the Aussie players picked up Yadav’s wrist spin without any problem and he conceded 48 runs in his first 8 overs. But he needed only one moment of burst to initiate an explosion and that came through wicket-keeper Matthew Wade in the 33rd over of Australia's run chase.
On the second ball of the over, Kuldeep bowled a leg-break on the slower side that offered a lot of turn. Trying an awkward cut, Wade got a thick inside-edge and the ball crashed onto the stumps. Kuldeep brought the variation on the next ball and bowled a well-flighted dipping full delivery to the new batsman Ashton Agar, who looking to take it on the full, went for a push towards the leg-side but missed it completely as the ball hit his pads. The Indians appealed for the wicket and the umpire had no qualms in raising his finger. Agar, though, discussed that with the non-striker Marcus Stoinis, but didn’t go for a review, giving the young Chinaman pacer a chance to pick up the hat-trick.
On the next ball, Kuldeep sent Eden Gardens into meltdown with a dipping googly outside off that Pat Cummins tried to defend, but poked an edge to MS Dhoni, who was vigilant as always, to take the catch. With the hat-trick, Yadav joined the elite list of Kapil Dev (1991) and Chetan Sharma (1987) – the only two Indians to have picked up a hat-trick in ODI matches. Ironically, Kapil Dev also took the hat-trick at the same venue against New Zealand.