Team India's biggest Test result ever
Bikash Mohapatra picks six individual performances that proved decisive in India beating Australia 4-0 in the just-concluded Test series.
Dhoni led from the front
The captain led from the front, quite literally at that!
It was his flamboyant 224 -- the highest score by an Indian captain -- in the opening Test in Chennai that started the Indian domination.
When MS Dhoni came out to bat at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Australia had the upper hand, having put up a competitive total (380) in the first innings and reduced the home team to 196 for four on a fast-deteriorating wicket.
By the time Dhoni was dismissed, the visitors' fate in the match (and the series) had been sealed.
Ashwin took 29 wickets
A haul of 29 wickets from four matches is a statistic Ravichandran Ashwin would be proud of long after he ends his career.
Having come into the series after an ordinary effort against England, the off-spinner made an instant impact.
Playing his first Test on home ground, the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai, Ashwin had match-figures of 12 for 198 as the home team made a promising start to the series.
Australia failed to decipher the 26-year-old even as the series progressed, the bowler picking five-wicket hauls in Hyderabad and New Delhi as well.
No points for guessing, Ashwin was named the player of the series. It is the third time in the four series on home soil that the offie won the honour.
Jadeja delivered with the ball
If R Ashwin's success with the ball was on expected lines, Ravindra Jadeja's was more of a surprise.
Drafted into the squad as an all-rounder, Jadeja did precious little with the bat. In fact, save the valuable 43 in the first innings at Ferozshah Kotla, the 24-year-old was a failure with the blade.
However, Jadeja more than made up for it with his bowling.
With Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha struggling, he proved the perfect foil to Ashwin's aggression, picking 24 wickets in the process – the second highest in the series.
Fittingly, he was named the man-of-the-match in the fourth and final Test in New Delhi.
Vijay justified his surprise inclusion
The 28-year-old's inclusion in the Indian team raised a lot of eyebrows, many pointing out he had a woeful run of form, managing a measly 138 runs for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.
The fact that Murali Vijay suffered a dual failure in the opening Test in Chennai (his home ground) justified his critics to an extent.
However, MS Dhoni preferred to persist with him. And Vijay vindicated his captain's faith by scoring back-to-back hundreds in Hyderabad (167) and Mohali (153).
An aggregate of 430 runs (@61.42) ensured he finished the series as the highest scorer.
Pujara bolstered his reputation further
The last time Cheteshwar Pujara batted at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, he scored 159 against New Zealand, his maiden Test hundred.
Seven months later, he returned to the venue and outdid the effort with a magnificent 204, the knock earning him the man-of-the-match honours besides ensuring a second successive win for India.
The 25-year-old continued with his good form in the fourth and final Test, scoring 52 and 82 not out. He stood like a rock while wickets fell at the other end, even as India completed a series whitewash.
An aggregate of 419 runs (@83.80) in the series further bolstered his credentials as a possible successor to Rahul Dravid.
A sterner test waits in South Africa later in the year.
Dhawan made an impressive debut
His innings in Mohali was the fastest century by a debutant in the history of Test cricket.
The blistering 187, an innings replete with 33 boundaries and a couple of hits over the fence, set the platform for India's six-wicket win in the third Test, despite a day being lost because of rain.
A freak injury ensured Dhawan couldn't play in the fourth and final Test in New Delhi (his home ground). The blitzkrieg in Mohali, though, had announced his arrival on the international stage, and in great style at that.
P.S. Virat Kohli, with 284 runs (@56.80), also made a decent contribution in the series, though not significant. However, his most significant effort (107 in Chennai) was completely overshadowed by Dhoni's.