Report Card: Pant, Pujara, Siraj Star for India in Australia Tests
This was the first time India won back to back Test series’ on Australian soil.
India’s tour of Australia in 2020/21 will be one that will always be considered special for the Indian cricket fraternity. Grit, determination, resilience and ambition were among the features the team showed off as they faced hostility from the opposition and the fans, only to eventually land the knockout blow at the Gabba.
While Virat Kohli did not feature in the Tests after the first one, almost everyone put their hand up at various points through the four games to help the visitors retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-1 series win. This was the first time India won back to back Test series’ on Australian soil.
Here’s a look at how the squad fared through the four Tests.
Prithvi Shaw - 1/10 (M - 1, R - 4, 50 - 0, 100 - 0)
After showing a lot of promise in his debut against the West Indies, Shaw seemingly has lost his touch. He just played only in Adelaide and completely failed to make an impact and was dropped after that.
Mayank Agarwal - 3/10 (M - 3, R - 78, 50 - 0, 100 - 0)
The opener made his debut at the MCG on the previous tour but could not repeat his performances from them. Mayank got starts but failed to make it count and finished with only with 78 runs in the three matches he played.
Rohit Sharma - 4/10 (M - 2, R - 129, 50 - 1, 100 - 0)
After battling an injury and a hard quarantine of 14 days, Rohit’s selection in the final two Tests gave India hope of better batting performances. In Sydney he scored a fifty and failed to kick on. In Brisbane too, he was guilty of throwing it away in the first innings and failed to make an impact in the second. However, he fielded well and held the catches in the slips in the final Test, an area that had been causing India some concern on this tour.
Shubman Gill - 7/10 (M - 3, R - 259, 50 - 2, 100 - 0)
Expected to do well given his exploits for India A and domestically, Gill impressed one and all with his fluent and assured batting in the three Tests he played. He scored two fifties in three matches and played a crucial knock of 91 in Brisbane to help lay the platform for a win. Expect Gill to play quite a few good knocks at the top of the order.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 7/10 (M - 4, R - 271, 50 - 3, 100 - 0)
Often criticised for his approach to the game, Pujara was once again India's saviour in tough conditions. Unlike last tour to Australia, he doesn't have any tons to show, but he did score three fifties. While Pat Cummins troubled him a fair bit in the series, Pujara kept doing his thing and eventually managed to tire out the Australian bowling by batting for long hours.
Virat Kohli - 4/10 (M - 1, R - 78, 50 - 1, 100 - 0)
Kohli, who looked in good touch in the first innings in Adelaide, however failed to dig in during the second innings, when India were skittled out for 36. Was he guilty of a rash shot in Adelaide, probably, but one can’t fault him for the collapse.
Ajinkya Rahane - 8/10 (M - 4, R - 268, 50 - 0, 100 - 1)
The stand-in skipper after Kohli's departure, Rahane led the team brilliantly. He was decisive and sharp in terms of making changes in the field and the bowling attack, and also played a crucial knock in Melbourne to help India win the Test. However, the high-standards that he sets for himself, Rahane will not be very pleased with his batting returns post the MCG Test.
Hanuma Vihari - 5/10 (M - 3, R - 72, 50 - 0, 100 - 0)
Even though Vihrai did not have any substantial score to his name in the series, he was crucial to India in drawing the Test at Sydney. Having dropped a couple of easy catches in the field, Vihari redeemed himself with a herculean effort in the fourth innings in Sydney when he thwarted the Australians by batting for more than a couple of hours despite having torn his hamstring.
Ravindra Jadeja - 7/10 (M - 2, R - 85, 50 - 1, W - 6)
One of the most important members of the team, Jadeja was crucial in helping India win the Melbourne Test, and showed great fight in Sydney to save a Test, despite injuring his thumb. Before injuring himself while batting, Jadeja had contributed with both bat and ball, and of course in the field like he always does to keep the pressure on the hosts.
R Ashwin - 9/10 (M - 3, R - 78, W - 12)
This Australia tour is probably Ashwin’s most important as he answered his critics emphatically, with the ball and with the bat, and with a few words as well. He was a thorn in the flesh for the Australians with the ball and was more than a match with the bat in Sydney, despite back spasms and a few body blows from the opposition. Ashwin also blossomed as one of the leadership group.
Wriddhiman Saha – 2/10 (M – 1, R – 13, 50 – 0, C – 0 (4))
The veteran keeper was picked for the Day/Night Test in Adelaide but unfortunately had to warm the benches for most of the series after that except in Sydney. When Rishabh Pant got injured on his elbow while batting, Saha came out to keep in the second innings for India and took four catches – again an area Pant had struggled in.
Rishabh Pant - 7/10 (M - 3, R - 274, 50 - 2, C - 8)
Always a talented batsman, he had been guilty of throwing away his wicket previously. However, Australia is clearly one of his favourite places as he batted brilliantly in Sydney and helped India win with his unbeaten 89 in Brisbane. His work with big gloves however still remains a concern though.
Washington Sundar - 8/10 (M - 1, R - 84, 50 - 1, W - 4)
Going into the series as a net bowler, and then making a debut in the series decider could be a lot of pressure for any player, but not for Wahington. He scored a crucial 62 in first innings at Brisbane, and also bagged four wickets in the match to play an important role in India's win. He is certainly one of the finds of the series. What makes it even more special is the fact that he had not played red-ball cricket since 2017.
Shardul Thakur - 9/10 (M - 1, R - 69, 50 - 1, W - 7)
India seem to have found a genuine all-rounder in Thakur, one who can bowl at quick speeds and get wickets, plus do a significant amount of damage with the bat lower down the order. When India was in trouble at Brisbane, he stitched together a century stand with Washington Sundar, and also bagged seven wickets in the match.
Jasprit Bumrah - 9/10 (M - 3, W - 11)
Not only Bumrah picked wickets once again, but he led the attack very ably, when India suffered untimely injuries to its bowlers. He bowled his heart out and helped India in getting crucial breakthroughs but that eventually led to an injury scare for him too and he had to sit out the final Test.
Navdeep Saini - 5/10 (M - 2, W - 4)
Even though Saini does not have impressive numbers in the series, he certainly impressed everyone with his determination to do well for India. After picking up a groin injury in first innings of the match at Brisbane, Saini came out to bowl in the second, despite being in pain. He did pick up four wickets in the Sydney Test.
Mohammad Siraj - 8/10 (M - 3, W - 13, 5w - 1)
From making debut in the series to spearheading the Indian attack, Siraj saw it all in the series and did a terrific job. The Hyderabadi swung the ball both ways and troubled the opposition batsmen time and again, bringing to the fore all of his first-class and India A experience. In the second innings of the Brisbane Test, he took up the responsibility and produced a fifer for team.
T Natarajan - 6/10 (M - 1, W - 3)
Natarajan did everything on the tour, that was expected out of him. Taken to Australia mainly as a T20I specialist, Nattu first left a mark in ODIs, then the T20s and finally the Tests. He was called in as a replacement for the last match, and impressed with a three-wicket haul in the first innings.
Mohammed Shami - 1/10 (M - 1, W - 0)
Shami is a force to reckon with in the world. But this was a rare failure for him. After going wicketless in the first innings of Adelaide Test, he fractured his wrist while batting and got no further opportunity to bowl.
Umesh Yadav - 5/10 (M - 2, W - 4)
Umesh looked excellent in the first Test at Adelaide, and decent in the second. But an untimely injury forced him out of Test, and hence the series as well.
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