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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Report Card: Jadeja, Rahul, Pujara, Saha shine brightest

Report Card: Jadeja, Rahul, Pujara, Saha shine brightest

March 29, 2017 08:42 IST

Ravindra Jadeja stole the show while Umesh Yadav bowled his heart out.
Rediff.com's Harish Kotian on how Team India fared against the Aussies.

Team India

India continued its dream home season as it outclassed Australia by 8 wickets to clinch the four Test series 2-1 in Dharamsala.

India were forced to work hard by a young Australian team who shocked the World's No 1 Test side by a thumping victory in Pune before the hosts bounced back.

For Indian fans it was a rare sight not to see Captain Virat Kohli among the runs as he endured a rare failure in recent years, and he was not helped by an injury which saw him miss the last Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara proved to be the backbone of the Indian batting yet again while opener K L Rahul made everyone take notice of his six half-centuries in the series.

Ravindra Jadeja stole the show with his superb all-round performances while Umesh Yadav bowled his heart out and proved a potent threat on the slow Indian wickets.

Check out how Team India fared in the series:

Virat Kohli (5/10)

Virat Kohli

It was possibly the toughest series so far in Virat's career -- both as batsman and as captain.

The Australians kept the skipper quiet restricting him to just 46 runs in the three Tests before he played.

His captaincy came under severe test after Australia romped to a 333 run victory in the series opener, but Chikoo Kohli marshalled his troops to win the Bengaluru game.

In a series where sparks flew on and off the field, Virat came under fire in the Australian media, former and current cricketers ganging up against the Indian captain's candour.

The skirmishes continued and in his final media interaction, Virat declared he is no longer friends with the Australian cricketers.

With the IPL coming up followed by the ICC Champions Trophy, Virat won't lose too much sleep over his recent form, but the Aussie bowlers have certainly given him a lot to think about.

Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)

Ajinkya Rahane

Though not in his best form, Jinx Rahane came up with a couple of important knocks at critical junctures to help India clinch the series.

After failing in both innings of the Pune Test, he came up with a gritty 52 in the second innings of the Bengaluru Test -- putting on 118 runs for the fifth wicket with Pujara.

That partnership set Australia a stiff target of 188, but the visitors tumbled for a paltry 112.

Jinx hit a quickfire 38 from 27 balls to ensure there was no drama as India chased 106 for victory in Dharamsala.

The vice-captain scored just one half century in seven innings with a tally of 198 runs. His positive captaincy -- a Mumbai lad as India's captain after such a long time! -- in Dharamsala took many by surprise. They didn't expect the quiet, understated Mumbaikar to be so assertive on the field.

K L Rahul (9/10)

KL Rahul

Rahul was easily one of India's best players of the series.

The opener hit six half centuries in seven innings in the series to finish with 393 runs at an average of 65.

After he got flak for throwing his wicket away in Pune, he showed both application and temperament in the following Tests and made sure he gave his side a good start as Murali Vijay struggled for runs at the other end.

His class and consistency is a relief. Rahul is a man for the long haul.

Cheteshwar Pujara (9/10)

Cheteshwar Pujara

If Australia had Steve Smith, India had Chintu Pujara.

The run machine continued his consistent home season, hitting a double century and two fifties to finish as the highest Indian run scorer with 405 runs.

His brilliant 92 helped India win the Bengaluru game before he beat the Aussie bowlers into submission with his mammoth 202 in Ranchi, spending more than 11 hours at the crease in his 525 ball knock.

Chintu hit a vital fifty in Dharamsala to pave the way for India's eight wicket win.

His splendid form throughout the 13 Tests of India's home season is one key reason why the hosts remained on top throughout.

Murali Vijay (4/10)

A disappointing series for Vijay who also struggled with injuries.

He scored just one fifty in five innings and missed the second game because of injury.

Vijay scored 82 in Ranchi, but otherwise failed to live up to his high standards.

The opener scored 113 runs from three Tests at an average of 22.

Karun Nair (2/10)

Karun Nair

Karun got a chance to establish himself in the Test line-up as he played in three of the four Tests.

But the Karnataka right-hander -- who scored a triple hundred in the Chennai Test against England -- disappointed big time, scoring a meagre 54 runs.

Will Karun get another chance soon with Rohit Sharma fit again? One just hopes he doesn't end up like Lawrence Rowe, the West Indian who also scored a triple hundred and never rose to those heights again?

Abhinav Mukund (2/10)

Abhinav Mukund

Mukund came into the side after nearly five years, but failed to carry his domestic form into the international arena.

Handed a chance to play after Tamil Nadu team-mate Vijay was injured, the left-hander failed to make it count.

He perished cheaply (0, 16) in the Bengaluru Test and was dropped once Vijay regained his fitness.

Wriddhiman Saha (8/10)

Wriddhiman Saha

Not only was Saha's wicket-keeping top notch on difficult turning wickets, but he made vital points with the bat.

Saha -- a vital 31 -- and Jadeja -- 63 -- put on a match-turning partnership of 96 runs in the first innings at Dharamsala.

The 'keeper hit a century in Ranchi which helped India push for victory before Australia somehow escaped with a draw.

With the gloves, he was involved in 14 dismissals in the series -- 13 catches and a stumping.

Ravindra Jadeja (10/10)

Ravindra Jadeja

The standout player of the series!

The World No 1 bowler stood up for India when it mattered and produced telling performances which shaped the fate of the series.

He took six wickets in the first innings of the Bengaluru Test and nine wickets in the following game in Ranchi.

Then he picked up three important wickets in the Dharamsala Test.

The Saurashtra left-arm spinner left Ravichandran Ashwin in the shade as he took 25 wickets to finish the highest wicket-taker in the series.

And all this, while scoring 127 runs.

His 63 went a long way in deciding the fate of the Dharamsala Test while he hit a quickfire 54 in the Ranchi Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin (7/10)

Ravichandran Ashwin

This was not one of his best series.

On pitches where he was expected to rip through the Aussie batting, Ashwin had just one five wicket haul.

His six for 41 in the second innings in Bengaluru lifted India to victory.

He also bowled a superb spell late in the Dharamsala Test, taking three wickets for 29.

Not only was Ashwin second best to Jadeja, but he was also outdone by Aussie off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

Ashwin took 21 wickets at an average of 27. Lyon bagged 19 wickets at an average of 25 with the Aussie posing more threat to the batsmen than his Indian counterpart.

Umesh Yadav (9/10)

Umesh has bowled his heart out not only during this series but during the entire home season.

He is unquestionably India's most improved cricketer and his skill made fans forget that spearhead Mohammed Shami didn't play the entire series because of injurt.

His excellent bowling in the second innings at Dharamsala won him applause even from the miserly Aussie media.

Hhe finished with 17 wickets at an average of 23 on pitches where fast bowlers hardly got any assistance.

Ishant Sharma (4/10)

Ishant Sharma

Ishant bowled well in patches, but failed to pick up wickets.

He played the first three Tests and took just three wickets at an average of -- gulp! -- 69.

But those grim numbers don't do Ishant justice. He played his part, building the pressure at his end to enable the spinners to attack from the other side.

But Ishant will need to do a lot more to keep his place in the side.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/10)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvi only played the Dharamsala Test.

Though the Dharamsala pitch gave the pacers some bounce, they needed to bowl out of their skin to make an impression.

Bhuvi took one wicket each in both innings, but delivered the most important scalp which made his inclusion worth it.

He dismissed the formidable Steve Smith cheaply in the second innings, after he had scored just 17, to give India a big boost in their push for victory.

That wicket so early in the innings made the difference as India bowled Australia out cheaply.

With many Tests to be played overseas the next season, Bhuvi will be one of India's go to bowlers in foreign conditions.

Kuldeep Yadav (6/10)

Kuldeep Yadav

The Chinaman spinner made an instant impact in his debut game in Dharamsala.

Kuldeep justified his inclusion with a four wicket haul.

While Jadeja and Ashwin failed to make an impression on Day 1, Kuldeep's variety had the visitors in all sort of trouble.

Jayant Yadav (4/10)

Jayant Yadav

Jayant was part of the three-man spin attack in the first Test, but struggled for control on the Pune dustbowl wicket which offered a lot of turn.

Jayant finished with two wickets, gave away a lot of runs, and was dropped for the rest of the series.

Photographs: BCCI

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com