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Report Card: How India's Players Fared in NZ Tests

December 07, 2021 06:23 IST

After failing to close out the first Test, India showed their class as they thumped New Zealand by a huge margin of 372 runs in the second and final Test in Mumbai on Monday.

In the absence of regulars like Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant, the replacement players stood up to the task and powered India to their biggest win at home by margin of runs.

Mayank Agarwal grabbed his chances with both hands with a century and a fifty in the Mumbai Test, and so did Shreyas Iyer with a century on debut in Kanpur.

The New Zealand batsmen found spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin too hot to handle and his spin colleague Axar Patel had another good showing at home.

But seniors like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma had a forgettable series.

A look at how India's players fared in the New Zealand Tests:


Mayank Agarwal (9/10)

Mayank Agarwal was on the verge of getting dropped for the second Test in Mumbai after failing in both innings of the first match.

But the team stuck with him and he repaid their faith with two superb knocks at the Wankhede stadium.

He stroked his way to a magnificent 150, which helped India post a healthy 325 in their first innings on a difficult wicket in Mumbai.

Agarwal carried on his good form with another half-century (62) in the second innings, as India romped home to a huge win by 372 runs, to claim the series 1-0.

His fine showing in the second Test has ensured that he will make it to South Africa despite Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul coming back into the team.

Agarwal finished as the highest run-getter in the series with 242 runs at an average of 60.

Shubman Gill (6/10)

Shubman Gill must rue not carrying on after getting off to starts in both Tests. He stroked his way to a sparkling innings of 52 in the first innings in Kanpur but was unable to convert it into a big one and in Mumbai he was dismissed in the 40s in both innings.

In the second innings of the Mumbai Test when he batted at No 3, the New Zealand pacers exposed his weakness against the short deliveries.

He scratched his way around to 47, playing a lot of ugly shots against the bouncers, something which will interest the South African pace battery.

Cheteshwar Pujara (5/10)

Cheteshwar Pujara's poor showing with the bat in the series has thrown question marks over his place in the playing XI.

Pujara scored 26 and 22 in the Kanpur Test before he fell for a duck in the first innings in Mumbai.

Opening the innings in place of an injured Gill in the second innings, he stroked a fluent 47 but once again failed to make the start count.

Virat Kohli (4/10)

Virat Kohli was rested for the first Test before he returned for the second match.

But the captain continued his lean run with the bat. Kohli was dismissed for a duck in the first innings while managing just 36 in the next, falling to spin in both innings.

The Indian team will be hoping that Kohli, who hasn't scored a Test century in two years, can turn around his form in South Africa.

Shreyas Iyer (8/10)

Shreyas Iyer made a dream start to his Test career with a century on debut in Kanpur.

If not for Iyer's fluent 105 in Kanpur, India may have well struggled to post a decent total in the first innings.

He played another crucial knock of 65 in the second innings, helping India set New Zealand a stiff target of 284 but the visitors managed to bat out a draw courtesy of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel.

However, Iyer failed to make it count at his home ground in Mumbai with scores of 18 and 14 at the Wankhede.

Ajinkya Rahane (2/10)

Is this the end of the road for Rahane in Test cricket?

Rahane, who led India in the Kanpur Test, was clearly short of confidence with the bat as he scored just 35 and 4.

An apparent injury ruled out him of the Mumbai Test. With Kohli back he would have anyways found it difficult to claim a place in the playing XI.

The South Africa tour could be his last chance to save his India career.

Wriddhiman Saha (7/10)

Wriddhiman Saha showed why India prefers him with the gloves on Indian pitches.

He was outstanding against the spinners, especially on the Wankhede pitch, where the ball turned and bounced quite a bit.

With the bat too, he left a mark with a crucial knock of 61 not out in the second innings in Kanpur, to rescue India from a difficult situation.

Ravichandran Ashwin (8/10)

Ravichandran Ashwin is in the form of his life as he continues to set new benchmarks.

With 14 wickets in the two Tests at an average of 11, Ashwin finished as India's most successful bowler in the series.

Ashwin was virtually impossible to play on the spin-friendly Wankhede pitch where he claimed four wickets in both innings to propel India to a massive win.

The expectations are so high for Ashwin that India's inability to bowl out New Zealand on the fifth day in Kanpur could count against him slightly, but to be fair to him the wicket was too low and slow for the spinners to make an impact.

He also went past Harbhajan Singh to become India's third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

Ashwin boasts of a magnificent record of 427 wickets in 81 Tests and he will look to play a big role in helping India win its first-ever Test series in South Africa.

Axar Patel (8/10)

Axar Patel also showed why he is one of the top all-rounders in Tests, especially in Indian conditions.

He claimed nine wickets in the two Tests, while chipping in with 124 runs, including a half-century in the first innings of the Wankhede Test.

Such has been Axar&'s incredible start in Test cricket that the Mumbai Test was the first time in five Tests that Axar failed to pick up a five-wicket haul.

Ravindra Jadeja (6/10)

Ravindra Jadeja picked up five wickets in the Kanpur Test but was ruled out the next match with injury.

He did take four wickets in the second innings but like Ashwin he struggled to claim the last New Zealand wicket, who kept out the Indians for nearly nine overs.

Jadeja did make an important contribution of 50 with the bat in the first innings, putting on a crucial 121-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Iyer to rescue India from trouble.

Jayant Yadav (5/10)

Jayant Yadav got a rare opportunity in Test cricket after the injured Jadeja was ruled out of the Mumbai Test.

Jayant got just two overs in the first innings in which he claimed one wicket. But he made a late surge as he claimed four quick wickets to send New Zealand crashing to defeat on Day 4.

Mohammed Siraj (7/10)

Mohammed Siraj showed why India should never leave him out, irrespective of the conditions.

He bowled a fiery spell with the new ball, taking 3/19 to dismantle the New Zealand top order in Mumbai on a spin-friendly wicket.

The delivery he bowled to Ross Taylor proved why he is rated so highly among the current crop of Indian pace bowlers.

He will be licking his lips in anticipation at getting the chance to bowl in the seamer-friendly conditions in South Africa.

Umesh Yadav (5/10)

In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav was supposed to lead the Indian pace attack. But he could not make much of an impact with the ball, with just two wickets in the two Tests.

He was overshadowed by the young Siraj in Mumbai as he went wicketless, while managing just two wickets in 30 overs bowled in Kanpur.

Ishant Sharma (0/10)

This could well turn out to be Ishant Sharma's last appearance for the Indian team.

Ishant went wicketless in the Kanpur Test before an injury ruled him out of the next match.

Even if he was fit, he might have dropped for the Mumbai Test.

It remains to be seen if the selectors retain him for the South Africa tour or include a deserved youngster in his place.

Photographs: BCCI