India beat New Zealand, England and Bangladesh fairly easily in the Test series, but the world number two team Australia didn’t let go without a fight, when they arrived on our shores.
The Baggy Greens fought toe-to-toe with the Indians until the very end, before conceding a 1-2 series loss in the fourth Test at Dharamsala. India won the final Test by eight wickets on Tuesday.
For the first time, Virat Kohli’s team was tested in home conditions and the Indian side responded brilliantly to the challenge.
They lost the first Test by 333 runs and then came back to win the second and fourth Test by 75 runs and eight wickets respectively.
As we come to an end of another home Test season, here’s a look at the performance of the Indian players in this series against Australia.
Virat Kohli - 5/10
India’s captain Virat Kohli had a rare quiet series as far as the bat is concerned. He got at least one century in every Test series during this season before facing Australia, but recorded only 46 runs in this series.
But, his captaincy was in top notch in Bengaluru and Ranchi. When India were defending a relatively low total of 188 in the second Test, Kohli set attacking fields and revolved his bowlers brilliantly, which helped India win by 75 runs. Even in Ranchi, Kohli started with his two spinners – Jadeja and Ashwin in Australia’s second innings.
India fell short by four wickets and the third Test was drawn.
Ajinkya Rahane - 6/10
Ajinkya Rahane’s poor run continued in the Australian series as well. He didn’t get a single fifty in the England series before he sustained a finger injury. And then he struggled against Australia in his first three innings of the series.
However, in Bengaluru, he played a gritty innings of 52 runs and helped India set a target of 188 runs.
In the final Test, Rahane set excellent fields and gave confidence to newbie Kuldeep Yadav, who picked four wickets in the first innings.
KL Rahul - 8/10
India’s opening batsman KL Rahul has been the most consistent batsman for India in this series. Out of seven innings that he batted in this series, he recorded six fifties.
The Indian batting line-up struggled to find their groove in their first three innings of this series and Rahul was the lone performer in the first and third innings with scores of 64 and 90 respectively.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 9/10
Do we need to say anything more for this player? Pujara finished as the highest scorer among the Indian batsmen in this season with 1,316 runs.
Like most Indian batsmen, Pujara also struggled in his first three innings of this series. But, he came up with a gritty 92 runs in Bengaluru, and helped India cross 250 for the first time in the series.
Then at Ranchi, when India were struggling at 328/6 (chasing 451) in the first innings, Pujara dug deep and played out the longest Test innings by an Indian.
He scored a double hundred and helped India post 603 runs.
Wriddhiman Saha - 8/10
Wriddhiman Saha has come off age with the end of this four-match series. Before the start of the series, Saha’s batting was still under question but now all the doubts have been wiped off.
He got a spectacular hundred in the third Test at Ranchi and to go with that he took some breathtaking catches as well. He grabbed onto 13 catches in the series.
Ravindra Jadeja - 9/10
Ravindra Jadeja had to step up in this series as Ashwin had a few off performances. The left-arm spinner relentlessly kept bowling on excellent lines and kept pestering the Australian batsmen with sharp turn throughout the series.
He finished as the highest wicket-taker in the series with 25 wickets and also scored two important fifties in the series.
Murali Vijay - 6/10
After being ruled out of the second Test due to a shoulder injury, Murali Vijay came back and made things right as far as India’s opening pair’s run is concerned.
While chasing a decent first innings total of 451 runs, Vijay strung a 91-run partnership with KL Rahul. During the partnership, he scored 82 runs off 183 balls.
However, he didn’t score much in rest of the series.
Karun Nair - 3/10
Karun Nair didn’t live up to his expectations in the series. After scoring a blistering triple century against England, he recorded scores of 26,0,23 and 5.
Along with the poor scores, Nair failed to hold on to a few catches during the series as well.
When Virat Kohli comes back from injury and if India decide to play five bowlers in their next Test match, then Nair will find it difficult to keep his place in the eleven.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 7/10
Ravichandran Ashwin had an off series as far as his standard is concerned. The off-spinner picked up only one five-wicket haul in the series, but still finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the series with 21 wickets.
However, the one fifer that he took, turned out to be one of the most important bowling performance in this series.
While India were defending 188 runs in Bengaluru, Ashwin picked up six wickets for 41 runs and the home side won the match by 75 runs.
Umesh Yadav - 8/10
Umesh Yadav picked up the most wickets among the fast bowlers in the series. He finished the contest against Australia as the fifth highest wicket-taker with 17 wickets.
He provided the early breakthroughs in almost all the matches and bowled at a good pace.
Especially in Australia’s second innings of the final Test, Yadav rattled the Australians with pace and bounce. He picked up three wickets for 29 runs.
Kuldeep Yadav - 5/10
Kuldeep Yadav was the surprise package in India’s arsenal for the final Test. He became the first chinaman to debut for India and picked up four wickets for 68 runs during Australia’s first innings.
He got his wickets with a variety of deliveries such as flipper and wrong 'un.
However, in the second innings, the Australian batsmen read him well and didn’t allow him to take wickets.
Ishant Sharma - 5/10
Ishant Sharma may have picked up just three wickets in the series, but his performance shoudn’t be judged on the basis of statistics.
He bowled on good line and lengths consistently and put constant pressure on one end, which helped his teammates to pick up wickets at the other end.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 5/10
Bhuvneshwar Kumar warmed the bench for three matches, then came out and bowled brilliantly in the fourth Test.
The speedster, who picked up one wicket in each of the innings of the match, played Ishant’s role during the match.
He got the prized wicket of Steve Smith in the second innings.