Indian cricket has enjoyed a golden 2016. They have not lost a single Test in the entire calendar year. Virat Kohli’s team has won five consecutive series, with the young captain not losing single Test at home. After having swept New Zealand 3-0, India continued the dominance by thrashing England 4-0 in the five-match Test series that concluded in Chennai on Tuesday.
The series witnessed several amazing achievements by Indian players. Kohli’s batsmanship, the destructive spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the emergence of two fine young players – KL Rahul and Karun Nair -- from Karnataka and the exploits of a rookie all-rounder from Haryana, Jayant Jadav.
Here are five big takeaways from India’s epic series win against England:
1 Virat Kohli leads from the front with brilliant batting display
Before the start of this series, Kohli had made just 322 runs in nine Tests against England at an average of just over 20. In the five-Test series at home, Virat Kohli blasted 655 runs at an average of 109.16, improving his average against England to 44.4. In the entire series, he was dismissed for under 40 only once. His sequence in the series read 40,49*,167,81,62,6*,235 and 16. His knock of 235 in Mumbai was the highest-ever score by an Indian captain in Tests, beating the 224 held by Mahendra Singh Dhoni against Australia in 2013. Redemption was sweet and dominant.
2 Ravichandran Ashwin’s all-round exploits
If Virat Kohli was smashing runs for fun, then Ravichandran Ashwin was taking wickets for fun. However, this series witnessed the true emergence of Ashwin, the all-rounder. He scored 304 runs and picked up 28 wickets in the series, becoming only the second Indian after Kapil Dev to score 250 runs plus and take over 25 wickets. Ashwin’s variations and accuracy never allowed England to dictate terms.
3 Ravindra Jadeja’s solo domination in Chennai
On the final day of the fifth Test in Chennai, Ravindra Jadeja put in a one-man show of dominance that overwhelmed England. He got rid of England skipper Alastair Cook for the sixth time and then picked up two more wickets to trigger a collapse. However, his catch of Jonny Bairstow, where he ran back from square leg to take a stunning catch near the boundary, changed the course of the game. Jadeja wrapped up the tail to finish with 7/48, his first fifer against England and his first 10-wicket haul in a match. He became the only Indian in the 140 years of Test cricket to take a 10-wicket haul, score a fifty and take four catches in a Test.
4 Karun Nair 303*, KL Rahul 199
Two batting benchmarks in the Virat Kohli-led Indian team emerged in the Chennai Test. KL Rahul continued his amazing conversion rate as he smashed his fourth century, his first at home. The flair, the aggression and the calm displayed by KL Rahul was exemplary until he threw his wicket away on 199. However, Karun Nair displayed his love for big runs and he created history when he became the second Indian after Virender Sehwag to score a triple century. Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly compared Nair’s knock to Sehwag while Sunil Gavaskar compared Nair to be a mixture of Rahul Dravid and Gundappa Viswanath. The form of these two Karnataka batsmen will give the Indian team management a nice headache.
5 Jayant Yadav’s maturity
In the England series, India’s lower order was an extension of the top order. The driving force behind this was Jayant Yadav at No.9. On his debut in Vizag, Jayant displayed magnificent calm and composure to guide the team to safety. In Mohali, he chipped in with a fifty and shared a vital 80-run stand for the eighth wicket with Jadeja. In Mumbai, he stepped up and become the first Indian No.9 batsman to score a Test century. His 241-run stand with Kohli, a record for the eighth wicket, took the game away from England. In addition to runs, the offie chipped in with wickets at vital stages. Jayant’s batting average is 73. His maturity has seen India being blessed with two spinning all-rounders, giving Kohli plenty of depth.