India vs England Test series - Team India report card
- Virat Kohli and his men crushed Joe Root's team to win the series 3-1 and also qualified for the final of the maiden World Test Championship. Here is a look at our report card of Team India in this series.
The series against England was always going to be a tough one for the Indian cricket team. It was the first time in over a year that the team would play Test cricket at home and that too against a team who were coming in with solid match practice of having played in the sub-continent.
Not just that, a gruelling series in Australia had taken a toll on the body and mind of many key members of the team, who were fatigued of staying in a bubble for months now, having started with the IPL in late September.
The lack of zing was visible in the first Test in Chennai as the hosts were buried under a pile of runs. Playing spin after a long time wasn't going to be easy and the result was a huge loss. England were right on top and Virat Kohli's men needed to find answers soon.
They did that in style in the days that followed and crushed Joe Root's team to win the series 3-1 and also qualified for the final of the maiden World Test Championship. Here is a look at our report card of Team India in this series.
1) Rohit Sharma: 9/10 - Excellent - (345 runs @ 57.50)
The opening batsman made an instant impact on returning to the playing XI in Australia for the last two Tests but got off to a slow start like the rest of the team against England with twin failures in the first Test. But a career defining knock of 161 in the first innings of the second Test set up a series-levelling win for the hosts. Rohit went on to make important contributions in the two remaining Tests and was the best Indian batsman on show in the series.
2) Shubman Gill: 3/10 - Poor - (119 runs @ 19.83)
A lot was expected from the youngster after a confident debut in Australia and Gill started the series well with a 50 under his belt in the first Test. But he never managed to get going after that. He was tentative against the new ball and was guilty of wrong shot selection against the pacers. These are early days in his international career, but there are several openers who are waiting to return to the Test team and he needs to perform to keep his place in the XI.
3) Cheteshwar Pujara: 3/10 - Poor - (133 runs @ 22.16)
All is well when the team is winning but the problem begins when the slide starts. Cheteshwar Pujara did the tough job of playing time against a hostile Australian attack down under and that is why the lack of a big score didn't come into focus. But a below par home series, in which he scored just one half century, is not a good sign for the India number 3. Pujara's lack of runs is now hurting the team and there are too many top order collapses. He has now gone 28 innings without a Test century and questions might start to be asked if Pujara and India don't do well on away tours.
4) Virat Kohli: 7/10 - Good - (172 runs @ 28.66)
Virat Kohli was above average as a batsman in the series and great as captain and that is why the overall rating of good. Kohli too is looking for the elusive century but he played some crucial knocks in the series. His 74 in the second innings of the first Test was a sign of his ability as a Test batsman. But it was the knock of 62 in the second innings of the second Test and the crucial partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin that turned the tide for the hosts in the match and the series, He went on to register two ducks in a series for the first time since 2014 but Kohli knows a big one is just around the corner. His field settings and bowling changes as captain were outstanding.
5) Ajinkya Rahane: 2/10 - Very Poor - (112 runs @ 18.66)
He has been a good performer but the clock is ticking for Ajinkya Rahane and it is ticking fast. His inconsistency at a crucial number 5 position is hurting India and once things start going wrong for the team, his inability to get runs and bat with the tail will stick out like a sore thumb more prominently. Just one knock of consequence in the series and poor dismissals don't paint a pretty picture for India's vice captain.
6) Rishabh Pant: 9/10 - Excellent - (270 runs @ 54, 8 catches and 5 stumpings)
Indian cricket's man of the moment. Rishabh Pant is redefining Test batting in his own style and he growing in confidence and more importantly as a bonafide match winner. The batting exploits are helping his wicket-keeping too and Pant is turning into an asset for the team. His century in the fourth Test completely changed the complexion of the match and the series, but for me his 58 not out in the second Test was more important for the team. A swashbuckling 91 in a losing cause in the first Test had set the tone for the series for this exciting talent.
7) R Ashwin: 10/10 - Excellent - (32 wickets @ 14.71 and 189 runs @ 31.50)
Ashwin showed yet again why he is India's biggest match winner in Test cricket of this generation. His virtuoso performance in the second Test with bat and ball in front of his home crowd got India going in the series and he went on to dismantle England completely in the next two Tests in the company of Axar Patel. 32 wickets in the series, which also witnessed him get past the magic figure of 400 Test wickets. Ashwin was vocal about what he felt about his feeling off the pitch and backed it up with great performances on it.
8) Axar Patel: 10/10 - Excellent - (27 wickets @ 10.59)
An injury meant his Test debut got delayed and perhaps the only reason that saved England from a 4-0 series whitewash. He was practically unplayable for the English batsmen as he picked up 4 five-wicket hauls in the 6 innings he bowled in. An outstanding start to his Test career means India have a huge selection problem to deal with when Ravindra Jadeja is fit to play.
9) Washington Sundar: 8/10 - Very Good - (181 runs @90.50)
In the team primarily as a bowler, Sundar rarely got a chance to bowl as Ashwin and Axar ran the English ragged. He still picked up 2 wickets in little chance that he got to bowl. But his real contribution came with the bat as he shared match changing partnerships with Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel down the order to set up India's win in the final Test. He was left unbeaten on 96 but would be satisfied that his efforts helped the team win the match. A serious find for the team.
10) Ishant Sharma: 8/10 - Very Good - (6 wickets @ 26.66)
There wasn't much to do for the pacers in this series, yet Ishant stood out with his immaculate consistency. He was India's stand out bowler in the first Test and the only one whom Joe Root had a problem facing. He picked up important wickets with both the new and old ball and also became only the second Indian paceman to play 100 Tests in the series.
11) Jasprit Bumrah: 6/10 - Above Average - (4 wickets @ 32.25)
Bumrah played his first home series and realised what it must have been for Ishant Sharma to bowl on unhelpful surfaces for so many years. He played just two Test matches and there wasn't much for him to do. Boom Boom will be expected to take up a more important role when India travel abroad.
12) Mohammed Siraj: 7/10 - Good - (3 wickets @ 22.66)
Mohammed Siraj breathed fire in the final Test and his dismissal of Joe Root was a stand out one where he got the ball to come in sharply. His performances in India in the two Tests were in line with his great show in Australia and the team management will now have a problem of plenty when the likes of Shami and Bhuvneshwar are back and raring to go.
13) Kuldeep Yadav: (2 wickets @ 20.50)
It will be unfair to judge Kuldeep as he played just one match and bowled just 12 overs. He was unlucky to not get picked in the first Test and remained in the shadows of Ashwin and Axar in the second. The fact that the other contenders in the team can bat better than him means he will have to be at his best with ball and unfortunately Kohli has more options currently. The chinaman will have to be patient and wait for his turn.
14) Shahbaz Nadeem: 3/10 - Poor - (4 wickets @ 58.25)
Nadeem was disappointing in the first Test to say the least. He leaked runs and strayed in both line and length and couldn't create any pressure. Hi spoor performance meant there was no support for Ashwin and this resulted in a bog loss for India. He was brought in as a substitute and will be lucky to play another match for India, given the options available for the team.