On day 2 of the 3rd Test between India and South Africa, amazing things happened. First, Ajinkya Rahane scored his first hundred in India since 2016. Then, Rohit Sharma scored a double hundred to become the fourth player in the history of the game to have double tons in both Test and ODI cricket. He also took his average in home Tests to a higher level than Sir Don Bradman.
But Sharma wasn't the only one breaking records on this day. Another man came to the fore and set some new benchmarks. This was Umesh Yadav. But no, his record-breaking wasn't with the ball, but with the bat! Now, you must be thinking he may have set a new negative batting record of some sort. But no, the records that he set were completely positive. First, he equalled a feat of Sachin Tendulkar.
In the 2013 Chennai Test against Australia, Tendulkar hit the first two balls he faced in the second innings of the match for sixes. Only one batsman before Tendulkar had done this. Now, Umesh has become the third person in the history of Test matches to hit the first two balls of his innings for sixes.
Yadav came out to bat after the dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja. He smashed the two deliveries, bowled by left-arm spinner George Linde, at the begining of his knock for maximums. They were good, old-fashioned slogs.
But the speedster wasn't done yet. He seemed to be in no mood to do anything other than slog for sixes. Eventually, he struck five of them and was, in the end, out for 31 off just 10 balls, a strike-rate of 310. This strike rate is the highest in a Test innings of a batsman.
The man Yadav surpassed is Stephen Fleming who had inflicted similar punishment on the bowlers of the same team, but a different era, in 2004. The former New Zealand captain had scored 31 runs in 11 balls. His strike rate in that innings was marginally lesser than that of Umesh – 281.81.
As expected, the fast bowler was dismissed through a top-edge that came about when he went for another slog of the bowling of Linde. The ball went high up in the air and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock held on to the catch.
Yadav's day wasn't finished. He was given the new ball and decided to add to the misery of South Africa. Bowling at high pace and extracting good bounce, he bowled a sharp, rising short delivery at de Kock, centurion from the first Test. As the batter tried to fend it away, the ball touched the glove and the edge was taken by Wriddhiman Saha behind the wickets. A good day's work done for Umesh.