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Pujara 10/10; Bumrah 9/10: Aussie Report Card

January 08, 2019 08:52 IST

How India's players fared in Australia.

Team India

IMAGE: India's players celebrate winning the Test series in Australia. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

It was a red letter day in the history of Indian cricket as Virat Kohli's team clinched India's first-ever series Test victory in Australia.

India claimed the series 2-1 after the fourth and final Test in Sydney was washed out by rain.

It was not smooth sailing for the World No 1 team. After starting off in confident fashion with a victory in the series opener in Adelaide the Indians suffered a shock defeat in Perth, against an Australian team depleted by the absence of banned duo David Warner and Steve Smith.

India showed great resolve to bounce back strongly in Melbourne and trounce the hosts by 137 runs which helped them clinch the series.

 

There were several notable performers for India in the series, but it would be difficult to look beyond star performer with the bat -- Cheteshwar Pujara.

He led the batting charts with three centuries and made up for a below-par series for Captain Kohli.

Jasprit Bumrah was in red hot form with the ball as he finished as the highest wicket-taker in the series.

Youngsters Rishabh Pant, Mayank Agarwal and Kuldeep Yadav also showed great potential for the future with their fine showing.

Harish Kotian's report card on how India's players fared in the series:

Cheteshwar Pujara (10/10)

Cheteshwar Pujara

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara with the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Remember the Gavaskar Calypso when the Little Master's batting masterclass inspired India to its maiden series win in the West Indies in 1971.

'Just like a wall...We couldn't out Gavaskar at all, not at all... You know the West Indies couldn't out Gavaskar at all'...

The Australian bowlers will sing something similar for India's New Wall -- Cheteshwar Pujara.

The India No 3 played a pivotal role in India's maiden Test series triumph in Australia -- ending a long wait of 71 years.

Pujara finished as the highest run-scorer in the series with 521 runs in the four Tests.

All his three centuries were match-winning ones.

His century in the first Test in Adelaide proved critical as he rescued India from a precarious 41/4 to rally them to 250 all out.

There was no moving Pujara who stood at the wicket for 1,258 deliveries, grinding the Australian attack into submission.

Australian Skipper Tim Paine admitted that Pujara was the difference between the two sides.

Virat Kohli (8/10)

A relatively quiet series for Kohli with the bat but he did create history as captain.

Kohli was the third highest run scorer in the series with 282 runs at an average of 40, including one century, which came in a losing cause in Perth.

But he also hit a timely 82 in Melbourne and his captaincy was top notch at the MCG as India bounced back quite well after a shock defeat in Perth.

Ajinkya Rahane (5/10)

At the start, Rahane promised a lot, but in the end delivered little.

The vice-captain started off the series in bright fashion, with half-centuries in the first two Tests, but was unable to carry on his form in the last two games.

He ended the series with 217 runs at an average of 31.

Mayank Agarwal (8/10)

Mayank Agarwal

IMAGE: Mayank Agarwal hit a half century on debut in the Melbourne Test. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Handed a tough debut in the Boxing Day Test, young Agarwal responded brilliantly to Team India's SOS.

India responded to the Perth loss by dropping both misfiring openers and the visitors got a timely boost in Agarwal.

The Karnataka right-hander blasted a brilliant 76 in his first innings in Test cricket in Melbourne to set the tone for India.

He also scored a vital 42 in the second innings before producing another cracking knock of 77 in the final Test in Sydney, while taking some sharp catches standing close in.

Lokesh Rahul (2/10)

Rahul struggled big time in Australia. His only innings of note was the 44 he made in the second innings in Adelaide, but the way he threw his wicket away came under a lot of criticism.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar called for Rahul to be sent back to India after his poor showing in Perth and play domestic cricket. Surprisingly, he made a comeback to the playing eleven for the Sydney Test where he failed again.

Murali Vijay (2/10)

Vijay also failed to make it count in Australia. Dropped during the series in England, he got another chance to resurrect his Test career, but alas Vijay was a big letdown again!

He scored just 49 runs in four innings before he was dropped for the last two Tests.

With Agarwal making an impression in Australia and Prithvi Shaw also available in the future, it is difficult to see Vijay get another chance. Or Rahul for that matter.

Hanuma Vihari (6/10)

Young Vihari may not have the runs to back him, but his steely determination and commitment to the team's cause won him much applause.

His part-time off-spin came in handy when he took 2 wickets in Perth.

Drafted as the opener in Melbourne, he managed just 21 runs in two innings, but played a big role in seeing off the new ball with a total of 111 deliveries faced.

'If you ask me to single out a contribution, for me Hanuma Vihari playing 70 balls with the new ball in MCG is as big as anyone getting a hundred or anyone scoring 70-80,' Kohli said after the series.

Rohit Sharma (5/10)

Rohit was lucky to get an opportunity after playing a reckless shot to throw his wicket away in Adelaide.

Rohit bounced back in Melbourne and answered his critics with a responsible 63, which helped India post a huge total in the first innings.

He missed the Sydney Test as he had to return to India for his daughter's birth.

Rishabh Pant (8/10)

Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant hits out. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Rishabh grew in stature in Australia. He provided the much needed stability to the Indian lower order with some timely knocks.

He was India's second highest run-getter in the series with 350 runs at an average of 58, with a highest score of 159 not out.

While Ricky Ponting hailed him as 'another Gilchrist', Rishabh has a lot of work to do with the gloves as he put down a few catches in the series.

Still, he returns with 20 catches in the series -- the most by an Indian wicket-keeper in a four Test series.

Jasprit Bumrah (9/10)

Jasprit Bumrah

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah was the top wicket taker in the series with 21 wickets. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Pacer Bumrah was a sterling performer.

The youngster was single-handedly responsible for India's Melbourne triumph as he sent the Aussies crashing with a 6 wicket haul in the first innings.

Taking another 3 wickets in the second innings, Bumrah lifted India to a thumping 137 run victory.

His pace and swing had the Australian batsmen running for cover, while his slower ball to get rid of Shaun Marsh in the Melbourne first innings was likely the ball of the series.

Mohammed Shami (7/10)

Shami bowled his heart out in Australia -- giving his everything every time he was called into bowl.

He bowled a lethal spell on an uneven pitch in Perth, picking up 6/56 to trigger a lower order collapse and give India a target (287) within reach which the Indian batsmen failed to chase down.

He played all four Tests and finished with 16 wickets at an average of 26.

Ishant Sharma (6/10)

Ishant may not have the wickets to show like Bumrah and Shami, but he delivered with breakthrough at crucial times.

Ishant finished with a creditable 11 wickets at an average of 23.

Ravichandran Ashwin (5/10)

Ashwin started off with a 5 wicket haul in the Adelaide Test before an injury saw him miss the rest of the series.

Ravindra Jadeja (6/10)

grabbed the opportunity with both hands after he was called in to replace Ashwin for the MCG and SCG Tests.

The left-arm spinner claimed 7 wickets in the two Tests, also hitting a half-century in Sydney.

His sharpness in the field gives him the edge and it will be difficult to keep him out after a good all-round showing in Australia.

Kuldeep Yadav (6/10)

Kuldeep Yadav

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav celebrates a wicket during the Sydney Test. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Drafted into the team for the Sydney Test, young Kuldeep left Australia in a spin.

Kuldeep had a 5 wicket haul in the first innings in Sydney and looked good for more before the rain came to Australia's rescue.

Umesh Yadav (3/10)

Umesh got a rare opportunity when he was called up to play in Perth as part of a four man Indian pace attack.

Umesh managed just 2 wickets in the Test in a total of 37 overs bowled.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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