Umesh's spell the best I have faced - Shakib

A glance at the scorecard will tell you Umesh Yadav's first spell on day three of the Hyderabad Test fetched the wicket of Monimul Haque. What it won't tell you is the pressure he maintained during the course of a nine-over spell which Shakib Al Hasan, who made 82, termed "the best spell" he has faced in his career.

Shakib said Umesh's late movement both ways on an unresponsive deck made it hard to lay bat on ball. Although he scored 30 off the 34 balls he faced from Umesh - five boundaries included - just how he made Shakib grope and feel for the ball that he yo-yoed away at pace and got it to reverse, added to the intrigue. He also mixed up his deliveries with cutters. There were bouncers too, mostly accurate.

There were moments when it seemed Umesh would run through the batting line-up, but had to settle for just the one wicket. The pressure he built up, however, resulted in a wicket at the other end when Mahmudullah was prised out by Ishant Sharma.

"Obviously he was bowling really well," Shakib said. "It was probably the best spell I have faced in my career. The way he was moving the ball both ways, it was tremendous. All credit goes to him. I was thinking I need to be positive at that time. If there is a ball to hit, I will obviously hit it and the rest I will play with soft hands, and make sure that I don't nick it.

"There was nothing much on the pitch. Because we play at Kolkata Knight Riders, I know him very well. Probably this was the best spell I have faced in my Test career. The way he was moving the ball both ways, some balls were unplayable. I am lucky that I survived his spell."

Umesh actually found reverse swing from the 14th over, which was the last over of the second day. His ability to swing it both ways with the conventional method gives him the advantage of getting maximum out of a ball that reverses.

"Ishant bowls slightly back of a length. Umesh's length allows him to swing the ball with the new ball and also with the old ball," India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar said. "He's worked a lot on his wrist positions and balance at the crease Ever since the Delhi Test match against South Africa, you've seen him giving the breakthroughs that the team requires.

"Our seamers Umesh, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar), (Mohammed) Shami and Ishant have chipped in with the crucial wickets right at the top or in the middle part of the innings where the spinners were not able to get the breakthrough. So I think the reason for that many Test victories is not only the contribution of the spinners but the small contributions the fast bowlers have made. That's why someone like Umesh stands out because I believe that he's the most improved bowler in the last season and a half."