Report Card: How Kohli, Bumrah & Rahane Disappointed in NZ Tests
Here’s a look at how the Indian team fared with the bat and ball in the two-match Test series vs New Zealand.
Team India tasted their first Test series whitewash under captain Virat Kohli in the recently concluded two-match Test series against New Zealand.
After losing the first Test in Wellington by 10 wickets, India once again surrendered within three days in Christchurch to lose the second Test by 7 wickets.
For India it will surely be a forgetable series, with hardly any moment of brilliance from the cricketers against a formidable New Zealand unit led by Kane Williamson. Despite the hostile batting condition in New Zealand, it wasn’t expected that the number one ranked Test side would resort to such a meek surrender.
India’s two big guns – Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah – were kept well under control by the hosts.
Here’s a look at how the Indian team fared with the bat and ball in the two-match Test series.
Prithvi Shaw (5/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 98; Average: 24.50; 100s/50s: 0/1
Playing his first Test series since his debut in October 2018, Prithvi Shaw had a forgettable outing in the two-match series against New Zealand. Facing a quality pace attack on seam-friendly wickets, Prithvi exposed a chink in his armour.
Regarded till now as technically sound batsmen, Prithvi displayed problem playing the rising delivery. Out of four times, the Mumbai opener fell prey to the climbing delivery thrice.
Getting an opportunity at the top due to the absence of Rohit Sharma, the 20-year-old hardly looked confident with the bat as the Kiwi bowlers peppered him with climbing deliveries.
His only moment under the sun in the series was his 54 runs during the first innings of the second Test in Christchurch.
Mayank Agarwal (6/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 102; Average: 25.50; 100s/50s: 0/1
Mayank Agarwal finished his first tour of New Zealand as the highest run scorer for India but failed to make a mark.
Despite a decent show in the first Test with scores of 34 and 58, the Karnataka batsman gave away his wickets quite cheaply in the Christchurch Test. Mayank could only manage 7 and 3 in both the innings.
The 29-year-old was expected to give India good starts, especially due to his exceptional form prior to coming to New Zealand but apart from a few moments of brilliance, Mayank could hardly prove his case.
Cheteshwar Pujara (5/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 100; Average: 25.00; 100s/50s: 0/1
With an out-of-form Virat Kohli and a young opening pair, it was crucial for Pujara to play long and responsible innings. But, unfortunately, he could not step up and capitalise on the situation.
The otherwise dependable Pujara did manage to stay in the middle for long but couldn’t be effective with the bat. His innings of 42-ball 11, 81-ball 11 and 88-ball 24 are testimony to the fact.
Despite spending some quality time at the crease and after doing all the hard work, Pujara failed to score big to rescue his side. In fact, for his 54, Pujara utilised 140 deliveries but couldn’t convert it into a century.
The lack of intent and Pujara’s inability to score freely was evident both at Wellington and Christchurch.
Virat Kohli (2/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 38; Average: 9.50; 100s/50s: 0/0
One of the reasons for India’a crushing loss in the two-match Test series has to be Virat Kohli’s batting form (read woes).
With 38 runs in four innings at an average 9.50, the skipper had one of his worst outings with the bat in his career. In fact, such poor has been his form that pacer Mohammed Shami finished with more runs than the skipper.
Meanwhile, the Kiwis should be lauded for their successful effort in keeping India’s premier batsmen quiet.
In the past also Kohli had problem dealing with deliveries outside off-stump and the New Zealanders knew about it and kept it simple this time around. Kohli was once again guilty of fishing outside the off-stump.
One Kohli ton and we may have seen a different scoreline.
Ajinkya Rahane (3/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 91; Average: 22.75; 100s/50s: 0/0
Unlike the skipper, the deputy got starts in the first Test but wasn’t able to translate them into big scores. But in the second Test, both cricketers suffered a similar fate as far as batting is concerned.
One of India’s most successful overseas batsman in the recent past, Rahane was unavailable to take the responsibility of the all-important middle-order after the failure of India’s top-order.
A senior custodian with the bat, Rahane has to step up under pressure situations with the bat if he wants to keep his place in the side, especially with KL Rahul and Shubman Gill waiting in the wings.
Hanuma Vihari (5/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 86; Average: 21.50; 100s/50s: 0/1
Coming out to bat at number 6, Vihari was also expected to give the Indian batting necessary support in the middle-order but like Rahane failed to impress despite starting well in the first Test.
Vihari needs to do better than a solitary fifty in the series, especially when he was given the nod ahead of in-form KL Rahul an Shubman Gill.
Just like Pujara and Rahane, despite taking his own sweet time to settle down, Vihari failed to make a mark with bat and wasted opportunities. The 26-year-old has to be more consistent if he wants to be a regular feature in the squad.
Rishabh Pant (4/10)
Innings: 4; Runs: 50; Average: 12.50; 100s/50s: 0/1
Despite an improved show with the gloves, behind the stumps, Pant failed to serve his purpose in the recently concluded Test series.
One of the most talked about things before the start of the series was the inclusion of Rishabh Pant as the keeper over Wriddhiman Saha. The team management went on to explain that in home conditions, where the ball turns sharply and keeps low, Saha would be the first choice wicketkeeper, but on overseas tour, it would be Pant who would don the gloves.
According to head coach Ravi Shastri, Pant’s batting down the order was one of the reasons for such a decision. But with scores of 19, 25, 12 and 4, Pant hardly justified the faith shown in him.
Ravichandran Ashwin (3/10)
Innings: 2; Wickets: 3; Average: 33.00
Much can’t be said about R Ashwin, who did all the hard work for his 3 wickets in the first Test on a wicket which had nothing for the spinners.
But despite his effort with the ball, it was his outing with the bat that led to his ouster from the second Test. The team management made it clear that for a spinner, especially in New Zealand, a lot more was expected with the bat.
Hence, it wasn’t a surprise when Ravindra Jadeja replaced Ashwin in the second Test.
Ravindra Jadeja (6/10)
Innings: 2; Runs: 25; Wickets: 2
The stunner of a catch from Jadeja down the boundary to dismiss Neil Wagner was probably one of the few high points for India in the two-match Test series.
Replacing Ashwin in the side, the leg-spinner picked up 2 wickets in the second Test apart from remaining 16 not out during India’s second innings in Christchurch.
Not exactly the performance you are looking for, but again the second Test was just another example of what Ravindra Jadeja brings to the table as a cricketer.
Ishant Sharma (8/10)
Innings: 2; Wickets: 5; Average: 15.20
One of the bright spots for India in the otherwise forgettable series. It was shame that Ishant Sharma couldn’t play the second Test due to an injury.
Ishant finished with a five-wicket haul in the first innings of Wellington Test. The seamer exhibited some high-class bowling unlike other Indian bowlers, who failed to be consistent.
Despite being sleep deprived due to the late call for the first test, Ishant troubled the Kiwi batters, pitching the ball in good areas to pick his 11th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Mohammed Shami (5/10)
Innings: 2; Wickets: 5; Average: 15.20
Far from his best, Shami is also part of the list of disappointments for Team India in the Test series.
With Jasprit Bumrah still rusty from his injury lay-off, it was expected that Shami would lead the Indian pace attack, with Ishant too coming back from injury. But that wasn’t the case. Instead the seamer was guilty of inconsistency with his line and lengths.
With only 5 wickets from 3 outings at an average of 39.00, Shami surely has seen better days. In fact, his only moment under the sun in the series was his 4/92 in the first innings of the second Test.
Jasprit Bumrah (5/10)
Innings: 4; Wickets: 6; Average: 31.66
If Virat Kohli disappointed with the bat, Jasprit Bumrah gave him company with the ball.
Still looking rusty and edgy since his injury lay-off, Bumrah wasn’t his usual self despite the bowling-friendly condition in New Zealand. Every time he was expected to get a breakthrough, the pacer failed to trouble the New Zealand batsman.
Bumrah might have finished the series as the highest wicket-taker for India but that doesn’t change the fact that he is yet to return to his best.
His average of 31.66 and the fact that he took just one wicket in the first Test testify to this fact.
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