India stamped their authority on South Africa handing the tourists a crushing innings and 137-run defeat to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series on Sunday. Enforcing the follow-on at the beginning of the final day, India’s bowling unit took control with Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja each picking up three wickets each as South Africa were bowled out for 189 in their second dig.
Umesh (3/22 in second innings) has made a phenomenal comeback to the team and he couldn’t help but give thanks to senior wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, who proved why he has the safest pair of hands at Pune.
Two of Umesh’s three wickets in the second innings were caught behind by Saha, but one that stood out the most was the first catch that dismissed Theunis de Bruyn. It was not that a great delivery by the Vidarbha pacer, who slipped it down leg. Bruyn could have left that pass but wanted to get some runs and therefore he tickled it off his pads. Saha threw himself across the turf and snatched a stunning one-handed catch with his left glove.
“I think I should treat him for those wickets down leg-side and that first catch, and I think they are Saha’s wickets,” Umesh said after the match.
“I thought they were going for boundaries, that’s always the thought when it’s down leg-side, but I was thanking God and Saha that I got those wickets.”
Umesh, who had bamboozled West Indies’ batting line-up in the second Test at Hyderabad in 2018, said he entered this match with a good mindset. “There is a healthy competition in the side, and I knew that if I get a chance, I had to grab it. I had taken 10 wickets in the last home match in Hyderabad (2018 vs West Indies), and I was confident about bowling in India. I had a good mindset and I was happy that I executed my skills on the ground,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saha heaped praise on the pace bowling trio of Umesh, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, who give him ’keeping practice. “Actually prep-wise, Umesh, Ishant and Shami bowl at me, and we practice that way, they give me some really good practice with the moving ball. Our trainers help us out with stretches, ice-baths, and we are trained for the match-day really well, so credit to them for my fitness as well as my wicketkeeping performance,” he said.