Umesh Yadav to miss third Test, T. Natarajan likely to cover

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Melbourne: Left-arm pacer T. Natarajan could likely be the replacement for India fast-bowler Umesh Yadav for the third Test starting from January 7-11 at Sydney Cricket Ground, according to ANI sources.

On day three of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Monday (December 28) Yadav suffered a calf injury as he pulled up in his bowling stride. He could not even complete his over as he walked off the field in the eighth over of Australia’s second innings.

ANI sources mentioned Yadav will not be fit in time to play the third Test after his latest scans. The sources said, ”His scans have come in, and he will miss the third Test as well. He will now look at making a return for the last game of the series as we have more than two weeks to go before we play the final game from January 15.”

Asked regarding a possible replacement, the same sources revealed, “With limited options available, the team management can ask for T. Natarajan to be added to the squad.”

Currently, Natarajan is in Australia as a net bowler for the Test series. But in light of his remarkable T20I performance, he could just get the Test cap.

Navdeep Saini is likely the number one to replace Yadav for the third Test. However, if India wants to bring some variation to their attack by adding a left-arm seamer, they can undoubtedly consider Natarajan as well.

“Umesh Yadav complained of pain in his calf while bowling his 4th over and was assessed by the BCCI medical team. He is being taken for scans now,” the Board of Control for Cricket in India had informed in a media update.

Speaking to the media at the end of the day’s proceedings, Mohammed Siraj failed to give an update and had said, “The physio will give an update regarding Umesh.”

Commenting on the team’s plan after Umesh walked off, Siraj said they looked to keep it tight and bowl dot balls. “After Umesh bhai went off the field. We focused on bowling in tandem and kept our focus on bowling maiden overs and dot balls as the wicket was not helping much,” he explained.

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