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India's Report Card: Perfect 10 for Kohli, Ashwin, Jadeja

December 21, 2016 20:19 IST

A near-perfect series for Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Rediff.com's Harish Kotian rates India's players in the 5 Test series against England.

Team India

IMAGE: Team India celebrate winning the fourth Test in Mumbai. Photographs: BCCI

India were at their dominant best as they thrashed England by an innings and 75 runs in the fifth and final Test in Chennai to win the series 4-0.

India narrowly managed to escape with a draw in the opening Test in Rajkot before they hit top gear in the next four Tests and continued their unbeaten run in Tests, which has now stretched to 18 games.

Captain Virat Kohli once again led the way with the bat while Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay played the supporting act to perfection.

Young Karun Nair announced himself to the world with a majestic 303 in Chennai while his Karnataka team-mate K L Rahul was unlucky to be dismissed for 199 in the same game.

Ravichandran Ashwin was again India's best bowler in the series with a haul of 28 wickets.

Ravindra Jadeja was a close second with 26 scalps.

The player who stole the show was young Haryana off-spinner Jayant Yadav who claimed 9 wickets in the series while hitting a century at No 9 in the Mumbai Test.

Rediff.com's report card on the India-England Test series:

Virat Kohli (10/10)

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates his century in the Mumbai Test.

Captain Virat Kohli was at his dazzling best as he inspired the young Indian team to one of its greatest series win at home.

Following the drawn game in Rajkot, Kohli hit a magnificent 167 and 81 in the next match at Visakhapatnam to script a 246 run victory.

He followed it up with a solid 62 in Mohali before hitting a career-best 235 in Mumbai that took the wind out of the Englishmen.

Kohli underlined his credentials as the leading batsman in world cricket as he finished the series with 655 runs at an average of 109.

No other batsmen from the other side got past 500 in the series.

The way he got the best out of newcomers Jayant Yadav and Karun Nair and rotated the team despite the spate of injuries was awesome.

Team India is going from strength to strength under Kohli's leadership, having gone 18 Tests without a defeat.

His true test will come overseas, but for now he seems to have got the right formula and the team to be invincible at home.

Ravichandran Ashwin (10/10)

Ravichandran Ashwin

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a wicket during the Mumbai Test.

Another successful home series for the World's No 1 bowler.

Except for Mumbai where the pitch offered a lot of assistance to the spinners, he had to work really hard for his wickets at the other venues.

In Chennai, he was unlucky to bag just one wicket .

His batting once again proved crucial for India.

Ashwin hit a vital 70 in Rajkot which prevented England from getting a big lead and then contributed with 32 in the second innings which helped India avoid a defeat.

He finished the series with 4 50s from 5 Tests to finish with a creditable 306 runs at an average of 43.

Ravindra Jadeja (10/10)

Ravindra Jadeja

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates Alastair Cook's wicket in the Chennai Test.

Jadeja is finally stepping out of Ashwin's shadow.

The left-arm spinner took 26 wickets, but with a much better average of 25 than Ashwin.

He bowled a match-winning spell of 10/154 in Chennai including 7/48 in the second innings to bowl India to a comprehensive innings and 75 run victory.

Jadeja also contributed with the bat, with 224 runs at an average of 37, including a crucial 90 in Mohali which helped India grab a handy 134 run lead.

Following his heroics in Chennai, Jadeja has moved to the second spot in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers behind Ashwin.

This is only the second time the top two spots have been occupied by Indian bowlers.

The legendary left-arm spinner Bishen Singh Bedi and the magnificent leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar were ranked one and two in 1974.

Murali Vijay (7/10)

Murali Vijay

IMAGE: Murali Vijay answered his critics with a century in the Mumbai Test.

Murali Vijay started the series with a bang, scoring 126 in Rajkot before England's pacers discovered a chink in his technique against short deliveries.

After cheap dismissals and question marks about his technique, Vijay answered his critics in style with a cracking 136 on a difficult pitch in Mumbai.

An injury in Chennai forced the opener to bat at No 6 where he scored 29.

He finished the series with 357 runs at an average of 44.

K L Rahul (7/10)

KL Rahul

IMAGE: K L Rahul fell tantalisingly short of a double century by one run in Chennai.

KL Rahul struggled with injuries and missed the Rajkot and Mohali Tests.

He also threw away good starts before he announced himself with a splendid 199 in the final Test.

Rahul scored 233 runs at an average of 58.

Cheteshwar Pujara (9/10)

Cheteshwar Pujara

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a century in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Chintu proved to be the Wall for India in the series.

England's bowlers couldn't just get past this determined, gutsy, right-hander.

He hit back to back centuries in Rajkot and Visakhapatnam followed by a 50 in Mohali and a 47 in Mumbai.

Pujara was the third highest run getter in the series with 401 runs at an average of 50.

Karun Nair (8/10)

Karun Nair

IMAGE: Karun Nair is only the second Indian to score a triple Test century.

Karun joined the great Virender Sehwag (who scored two 300s) to in the elite triple centurions club.

Like Gary Sobers and Bob Simpson, his first Test century was a triple hundred!

Following his failures in his first two Tests, the Karnataka batsman -- who scored 328 in last year's Ranji Trophy final -- showed he had the appetite and skill to succeed at the highest level.

It will be difficult to drop a triple centurion when the two Mumbaikars -- Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma -- are fit to play cricket again.

Ajinkya Rahane (4/10)

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane bowled by Moeen Ali in the Rajkot Test.

Jinx endured an unusually poor series before an injury saw him sitting out the series after the first three Tests.

Rahane struggled against England's spinners, who claimed his wicket thrice out of his five innings.

Rahane finished with 63 runs at an average of 12 and faces stiff competition for his place in the side when he returns for the one-off Test against Bangladesh and the Australia Test series after that.

Gautam Gambhir (2/10)

Gautam Gambhir

IMAGE: Gautam Gambhir dismissed leg before wicket by Stuart Broad in the first Test at Rajkot.

The spate of injuries for India meant that Gautam Gambhir got an unlikely recall for the New Zealand series.

Gauti was retained for the first two Tests of the England series.

However, he failed in both innings of the Rajkot Test, forcing the team management to drop the Delhi opener after the first game.

Gambhir made 29 and a duck in the two innings.

Parthiv Patel (6/10)

Parthiv Patel

IMAGE: Parthiv Patel during the fifth Test in Chennai.

Parthiv made a comeback to the Indian team after eight years and made an instant impact with the bat.

His wicketkeeping is still a question mark as it was at the start of his Test career.

Parthiv struggled to keep against the spinners especially on the Mumbai and Chennai pitches.

It was his flexibility to open the innings that helped the team the most, especially after Rahul was injured ahead of the Mohali Test.

In the Chennai Test, he put up his hand to open the innings despite keeping for 157 overs following the injury to Vijay.

Wriddhiman Saha (5/10)

Wriddhiman Saha

IMAGE: Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha.

There is little doubt that Wriddhiman is the best wicket-keeper in the country when it comes to the longer version of the game.

Saha suffered a hamstring injury during the second Test and missed the next three Tests.

He played a handy knock of 35 in the first innings in Rajkot, but suffered three consecutive failures after that.

Parthiv's good showing with the bat will definitely put pressure on Saha to be more consistent at the batting crease.

Jayant Yadav (9/10)

Jayant Yadav

IMAGE: Jayant Yadav celebrates his century during the Mumbai Test.

Bolu is easily the find of the series.

Not many knew him before his debut in Visakhapatnam, but his gutsy showing with the bat and ability to take wickets whenever called to bowl made him a standout player.

He became the first Indian to score a century at No 9 when he made 104 in the Mumbai Test.

The off-spinner took 9 wickets in the series though he missed the Chennai Test with injury.

One of those rare players who made his reputation playing domestic cricket and not the IPL, Jayant is one to watch out for.

Amit Mishra (5/10)

Amit Mishra

IMAGE: Leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Amit struggled to make an impact in the two games he played.

The leg-spinner took just one wicket in the opening Test before he made way for Jayant who grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Only an injury to Jayant saw Mishra make a comeback for the Chennai Test, but finished with two wickets on a pitch offering a lot of assistance to the spinners.

Mohammed Shami (8/10)

Mohammed Shami

IMAGE: Mohammed Shami takes a wicket in Visakhapatnam.

Shami gets better and better after his long injury lay-off.

He bowled with aggression and guile and was easily the pick of the fast bowlers from both teams.

Despite bowling on slow pitches, Shami showed his effectiveness taking 10 wickets in three games, the most among the fast bowlers in the series.

Umesh Yadav (7/10)

Umesh Yadav

IMAGE: Umesh Yadav celebrates a wicket during the Chennai Test.

Umesh Yadav was another standout performer with the ball.

He may not have the numbers to show with 8 wickets in 5 games, but Umesh was one of Kohli's go to bowlers whenever a partnership got going.

Umesh's fitness was also highly laudable -- he played all five Tests and was bowling with fire at the end of a long series on the final day of the Chennai Test.

He bowled the most number of overs among the fast bowlers in the series with a total of 143.5 overs; Shami was second at 103 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/10)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowls during the Mumbai Test.

Bhuvi knows his role is limited when it comes to playing Tests at home.

He got an opportunity in the fourth Test when Shami was ruled out because of injury.

The pacer went wicketless in the first innings before he took one wicket in the second innings and was replaced by Ishant Sharma for the final Test.

Ishant Sharma (5/10)

Ishant Sharma

IMAGE: Ishant Sharma takes a wicket during the Chennai Test.

India's most experienced fast bowler has fallen down the pecking order, behind Shami and Umesh.

He played the last Test, gave a good account of himself, taking 3 wickets bowling lively spells on a slow wicket.

By taking the in-form Jonny Bairstow's wicket in the second innings, he boosted India's victory chances in Chennai.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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