Report Card: How Virat Kohli and Co. Fared in Test Series against England

So near yet so far was the story for the Indian Test team yet again. The England series turned out to be a deja-vu of South Africa Tests played earlier, this year.

India lost the series to England 1-4. But it was much closer than the scoreline suggests. But for the world's no.1 Test side, can this theory of just playing competitive and not producing results be held as a "badge of honor"?

Perhaps, this is what Coach Shastri and Captain Kohli think. It's not quite right, that's a different thing altogether.

Kohli and Shastri also feel the present team is the best Indian side in the last 15 years. After such a disappointing series, such ludicrous claims by the Kohli-Shastri duo is like rubbing salt on the wounds of the Indian fans.

As the series is done with, it's imperative to analyze how each and every player performed in the Test series, so here is a report card of Indian players:

Openers

Murali Vijay- 1/10

In four innings of two Tests, the Indian opener averaged 6.50 for his 26 runs. Vijay, who is known for his solidity has been guilty of playing loose shots in away Tests, this year. Vijay also had a horrible time in South Africa, where he could merely manage 46 runs in six innings.

Shikhar Dhawan- 2.5/10

Shikhar Dhawan managed 162 runs at an average of 20.25 in four Tests, he played in this series. The aggressive opener played really well at Trent Bridge and got India off to good starts, scoring 35 and 44. But the southpaw had a poor series, overall, which was on the expected lines. In fact, his problem is quite simple. In Asia, the 32-year-old averages 61 but in countries like South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia, his average falls to a poor 25.80. Dhawan simply doesn't seem good enough to play in these testing conditions.

KL Rahul- 4/10

There were a lot of expectations from this tall and stylish Karnataka batsman. But it took Rahul "nine innings" in the series to put up that second inning (149 runs) Oval exhibition. Rahul, who made a name for himself through his tight technique and good footwork was batting as if he is playing limited-overs cricket, for most part of the series. The 26 years old struggled against the swing and accuracy of English bowling attack. The classical right-hander stroked 299 runs at an average of 29.90.

Middle-Order

Cheteshwar Pujara- 5.5/10

Indian no.3, Pujara was dropped from the first Test. There was a lot of baggage on Pujara's shoulders given his poor non-Asia numbers. But the resilient batsman did well in the series and finished with 278 runs at an average of almost 40. Only Kohli averaged better than him among specialist batsmen. Pujara’s unbeaten 132 at Southampton will remain a memorable knock for him. But the Saurashtra-batsman surely needs to be more consistent.

Virat Kohli- 9/10

Virat Kohli conquered his England demons by hammering 593 runs at an average of 59.30. Virat was so prolific that the second highest run-getter, Jos Buttler finished 244 runs behind him in the series. Virat, who showcased great judgment outside his off-stump, was ready to fight the mental battle and just put up a masterclass for even the home team on how to bat in difficult conditions. But Kohli the captain wasn't quite sharp. He misread conditions, made wrong selection calls, was found out tactically and put extra pressure on the team with his big claims.

Ajinkya Rahane- 3/10

In last 31 Test innings, Rahane has touched fifty or more, just six times. If we talk about only this series, the Indian vice-captain managed 257 runs at an average of 25.70. There was a time when Jinx was the best Indian batsman in Non-Asia conditions. But now his failures are hurting India big time. Given Rahane’s struggles in 2017 and now in England, there are even question marks on his place in the side. It seems as if his past glories are carrying him even in the present time.

Hanuma Vihari- 7/10

Hanuma Vihari who debuted at the Oval impressed one and all with fifty on his debut innings, which was full of grit and application. The Andhra Pradesh batsman also picked up three wickets in the game.

Wicket-keepers, All-rounders, Spinners

Dinesh Karthik- 1/10

There were a lot of expectations from Dinesh Karthik but he could manage only 21 runs at an average of 5.25 in four innings. One can argue that the right-hander was a bit unlucky as he got beauties from English bowlers and played on two of the most difficult tracks to bat. But given his experience in England, he could surely have done much better.

Rishabh Pant- 6/10

Rishabh Pant's audacious 114 at the Oval will be remembered for a long time. The explosive southpaw proved why he was fast-tracked to the senior side. In just his sixth Test innings, he did what no other Indian keeper could do ever. He reached the three-figure mark in England. The Delhi player needs to work on his wicket-keeping but the good part was that he didn't drop too many chances. The 20-year-old averaged 27 for his 162 runs in six innings.

Hardik Pandya- 6/10

Hardik Pandya was one of the shining stars in India's win at the Trent Bridge. His five-fer in first innings of the third Test got India a good lead while his fifty in the second innings swelled the lead further. But the swashbuckling player wasn't quite consistent with the bat. The Baroda-lad averaged 23.42 in eight innings with the bat and took 10 wickets at 24.70. He was dropped from the team for the fifth Test.

Ravi Ashwin- 5/10

The Indian off-spinner will lament his performance in Southampton for a long time, where he couldn't quite cash in on a deck full of footholds. Ashwin took 11 wickets at 32.72 in four Tests. He had a great game at Edgbaston, where he took seven wickets but couldn't quite back it up in the remainder of the series. The right-hander averaged 21 with the bat.

Ravindra Jadeja: 9/10

Ravi Jadeja showcased at the Oval what “might have been” had he played earlier. The left-hander scored an unbeaten 86 in the first innings to prove his mettle with the bat. The 29 years old also took seven wickets in the game and had a good game as an all-rounder.

Kuldeep Yadav- 1/10

Kuldeep, who took England by storm in limited-overs series bowled nine overs in the only Test he was part of the team, at Lord's. He bowled quite short and also full-tosses on a wet and seamer-friendly wicket. Yadav found it tough to grip the duke ball and went wicket-less. The chairman spinner was dropped from the squad for the last two Tests.

Fast bowlers

Ishant Sharma- 9/10

With 18 wickets at 24.27, Ishant Sharma emerged as the best Indian bowler and second best wicket-taker overall, after Jimmy Anderson in the five-match Test series. Sharma consistently hit good line and lengths and unlike other times, wasn't guilty of bowling short.

Mohammad Shami- 7/10

Indian pacer, Shami bowled quite well though his average is close to 40. He took 16 wickets in nine innings and had he been slightly lucky in the final Test, could have easily touched 20 wicket-mark in the series. But overall, Shami did well to get through the series without getting injured and bowling in a good rhythm.

Jasprit Bumrah- 9/10

Bumrah was one of the picks of the bowlers and ended with 14 wickets in three Tests. His lively pace, unorthodox action, difficult angle, heavy ball and ability to move the ball in sharply, made him one of the most difficult propositions for England.

Umesh Yadav: 2/10

Umesh Yadav must consider himself unlucky that despite his landmark home season, he got just one game in eight Tests played in South Africa and England, on some helpful seaming decks. In the only game he played, Umesh was very inconsistent and could just take three wickets on a seaming Edgbaston track. But Kohli could have shown more faith on Umesh.


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