rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Team India Report Card: Kohli, Pujara 8/10; Rohit Sharma 2/10

Team India Report Card: Kohli, Pujara 8/10; Rohit Sharma 2/10

Last updated on: December 31, 2013 10:07 IST

Team India Report Card: Kohli, Pujara 8/10; Rohit Sharma 2/10

     Next

Next
Harish Kotian

Harish Kotian makes an assessment of the Indian players' performance in the South Africa series. 

India will consider themselves unlucky to lose by a big margin of 10 wickets to South Africa in the Durban Test, which also cost them the series 1-0. However, a closer look suggests it was only two bad sessions that ultimately proved fatal for the visitors.

After a thrilling draw in Johannesburg, India looked in control after putting up a healthy 181 for 1 on a rain-hit opening day. However, Dale Steyn's searing pace triggered the turnaround as India crashed to 334 all out in their first innings, losing their five wickets for 14 runs.

Steyn took six for 100, after going wicketless in the first match. He endured a long wait of 69.2 overs to get his first wicket, but once he tasted blood he ran through the Indian batting line-up to finish with 6 for 100 on a pitch that seemed to be more the Indians than South Africans.

In their second innings too, India stumbled with the bat on the fifth and final day, losing five wickets in the morning session and eventually folded for a modest 223 despite Ajinkya Rahane's splendid knock of 96.

South Africa cruised to the victory target of 58 with 10 wickets to spare, giving their batting icon Jacques Kallis a winning send-off from Tests.

India's report card: 

Virat Kohli (8/10)

Virat Kohli had big boots to fill in, having to bat at No. 4, the position left vacant after batting icon Sachin Tendulkar's retirement last month. And he certainly passed the test with flying colours, giving ample proof of why many regard him as the next big thing in Indian cricket.

After poor form in the ODI series, and having endured a lot of banter from the South Africans ahead of the Tests, Kohli answered his critics in grand style with a century in the first innings of the Johannesburg Test. He narrowly missed out on the landmark of becoming the fourth Indian to score a hundred in each innings of a Test match when he fell for 96 in the second essay.

He looked good even in the second Test, but got an unfortunate decision in the second innings in Durban which proved quite crucial in the final analysis.

Kohli was the second highest run-scorer, with 272 runs at an average of 68.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara (left) with Virat Kohli
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

     Next

Dhawan has himself to blame for poor scores

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Shikhar Dhawan (5/10)

For Shikhar Dhawan, it was a tour that taught him a lot. He finished with a meagre 76 runs in four innings even though he promised a lot more every time he came out to bat. Unfortunately, he has himself to blame as he kept throwing his wicket away after getting off to starts as his scores of 13, 15, 29 and 19 suggest.

This was the young left-hander's first series outside the country and he will surely gain a lot from this experience.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Prev     Next

Murali Vijay passes the test

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Murali Vijay (7/10)

Before the South Africa tour, there doubts over whether Murali Vijay had it in him to play against the moving ball. And he passed the test with flying colours with a gutsy display of batting against the world's best fast bowling attack.

While Dhawan was throwing his wicket away, at the other end Vijay did his job of playing out the new ball to perfection. His tactics of leaving the deliveries outside the off-stump frustrated the South African pacers to quite an extent in the first Test and gave the rest of the batsmen a lot of belief.

He played a good knock of 97 in the first innings in Durban and finished with a creditable tally of 148 runs, at an average of 37.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Murali Vijay
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Worthy heir to No 3 position

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Cheteshwar Pujara (8/10)

Before him, Rahul Dravid occupied the No 3 slot with great distinction for many years. Cheteshwar Pujara, with his batting heroics in South Africa, proved that he is a worthy heir to that position.

He finished as the highest run-scorer in the series with 280 runs, at an average of 70, and a best score of 153 in Johannesburg, which left the South Africans in awe of his batting prowess.

Though he is considered a Test specialist, Pujara also topped the list for most boundaries, hitting as many 36 fours in the two matches.

With India playing a lot of away Tests in 2014, he will be the player to watch out for in the coming months.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Rohit would like to forget the tour in a hurry

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Rohit Sharma (2/10)

For Rohit Sharma, this was a series he would like to forget in a hurry. After his dream debut against the West Indies -- he scored two centuries in his first two Tests in batting-friendly pitches in India -- he looked totally at sea against the moving ball in South Africa.

He finished with a poor return of 45 runs, at an average of 11. That effort was bettered by even the South African tail-enders.

Not only did he play poor shots, but was also found wanting with his technique in dealing with the swinging deliveries.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Rohit Sharma of India is bowled by Jaques Kallis (not pictured)
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Prev     Next

Rahane showed great courage

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)

Ajinkya Rahane had travelled with the Indian team for nearly three years, but before the tour of South Africa played just one Test match. Finally, when he did get the opportunity of an extended run against the Proteas, he made sure he grabbed it with both hands.

In Johannesburg, he played a good innings of 47 but fell cheaply in the second innings for just 15. But he made up for it with two splendid knocks in Durban and showed great courage to stand up to Steyn & Co despite taking a few hits on the body.

He was left stranded on 51 in the first innings of the second Test and then played a magnificent knock of 96 which saved India the humiliation of an innings defeat.

Rahane also played a big role in stalling South Africa's push for victory in the first Test with the crucial run-out of Faf du Plessis in the closing stages, after he had accounted for Graeme Smith in the same manner the previous day.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Ajinkya Rahane
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Tags:

Prev     Next

Dhoni must improve his planning and batting

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5/10)

The only thing Mahendra Singh Dhoni did right in the series was winning the toss and making the correct decision to bat. However, his captaincy in both the matches left a lot to be desired as he went on the defensive too early at times, while his batting was a big disappointment.

His highest score in the series was 29 and he finished with 87 runs. His most disappointing showing was in Durban, where delayed taking the second new ball, and played a reckless shot which cost him his wicket at a crucial juncture in the second innings.

Dhoni has now lost three overseas Test series in a row (including nine away Tests defeat out of 10) and unless he improves his planning and batting, the trend looks set to continue.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Poor outing with the bat

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Ravindra Jadeja (6/10)

Ravindra Jadeja was handed a surprise call-up for the second Test and he certainly didn't disappoint with the ball. With the bat, though, he came under a lot of criticism especially after throwing his wicket away in the second innings when the need of the hour was to stay at the wicket. In short, for an all-rounder he had two poor outings with the bat.

He bowled a mammoth 58.2 overs in the first innings, nearly double the number of overs anyone bowled in the game, and returned with career-best figures of six for 138.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Ravindra Jadeja
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Ashwin disappoints

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Ravichandran Ashwin (4/10)

Ravichandran Ashwin had a forgettable outing in Johannesburg, where he failed to pick a single wicket in the Test after bowling 42 overs. He was promptly dropped for the next match.

He failed to inspire, his lacklustre bowling hardly a threat to the batsmen, and was was overshadowed by South African part-time off-spinner J P Duminy, who picked a couple of wickets.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Ravichandran Ashwin
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Good comeback by Zaheer

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Zaheer Khan (7/10)

Zaheer Khan made a comeback to the Indian team after a gap of nearly a year and certainly didn't disappoint.

It was his inspirational spell in the first innings of the first Test, when he took four for 88, that inspired the young Indian pace attack as they nearly came close to victory.

He also proved his fitness issues are a thing of the past as he sent down a total of 60.3 overs in Johannesburg. The veteran pacer was India's highest wicket-taker with seven wickets at an average of 45.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Zaheer Khan (centre) celebrates a wicket with his teammates
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Prev     Next

Ishant inconsistent

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Ishant Sharma (4/10)

Ishant Sharma continued with his inconsistent showing in South Africa but still enjoyed the backing of the captain.

For someone who has played 53 Tests, Ishant is yet to step up to the next level and deliver match-winning performances with the ball.

In South Africa, he managed just five wickets, at an average of 62, for what was the worst bowling performance among the Indian bowlers.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Ishant Sharma's poor form must worry the team management
Photographs: BCCI

Prev     Next

Shami showed a lot of potential

Prev     More
Prev

More

Mohammed Shami (6/10)

Mohammed Shami showed a lot of promise and heckled the South African batsmen with his extra pace and swing.

At 23 years of age has already shown a lot of potential and will be India's key bowler in years to come.

He took six wickets, at an average of 43, and certainly impressed.

Please click NEXT to read MORE....


Image: Mohammed Shami
Photographs: BCCI
Tags: Shami , India

Prev     More