A riveting, two-month-long duel that is widely being considered as one of the greatest Test series ever, ended in India’s favour, with the visitors securing a victory in the final session.
Injuries were a constant presence in India’s camp, but even the growing list of fitness issues couldn’t prevent the side from managing two wins in a closely-fought series. In all, India fielded 20 players across four Tests, all of whom have been ranked out of ten based on their performances.
Shubman Gill 8/10
259 runs @51.80, HS: 91, 2 fifties
A star is born. The uncapped Gill was considered in the XI from the second Test onwards, and once he was slotted in at the top, he looked the part, essaying some fine strokes on his way to a couple of fifties, including a fine 91 on the final day of the Brisbane Test which laid the platform for the win.
Prithvi Shaw 1/10
4 runs @2.00, HS: 2
Having missed the previous tour to Australia due to injury, Shaw was expected to take his Test career in a new direction, on pitches that suited his play, but phe roved to be woefully out of depth, managing just four runs in two innings. With multiple options at their disposal for the opening spot, India benched him after the first game.
Mayank Agarwal 3/10
78 runs @13.00, HS: 38
Two years ago, Mayank announced himself at the Test arena with an impressive debut in Australia, but the current tour proved to be far less prolific, where he managed just 78 runs in six innings. Originally supposed to a first-choice opener, Mayank was dropped for poor form, and later slotted into the middle order, but failed to create much impact either way.
Rohit Sharma 6.5/10
129 runs @32.25, HS: 52, 1 fifty
The rehabilitation after his hamstring injury and the subsequent quarantine period meant that Rohit was available for just two Tests, but portrayed an assured, solid approach at the top, despite his lacklustre record away from home. He racked up a couple of decent starts, combining with Shubman Gill to give India substantial opening stands, but fell for a single-digit in the final innings of the series. His shot selection in the first innings in Brisbane called for wide criticism.
Cheteshwar Pujara 8/10
271 runs @33.87, HS: 77, 3 fifties
The leading run-getter in the previous edition of the series, Pujara might not have had as good a run-fest this time, and was even criticised for his sluggish approach midway through. However, he stood tall when it mattered the most, scoring three crucial fifties in the series, one of which came on the final day, copping blow after blow to help India secure a win in Brisbane.
Virat Kohli 7.5/10
78 runs @39.00, HS: 74, 1 fifty
Kohli’s participation in the series was limited to the first Test, and the line-up’s capitulation in Adelaide made many wonder how the batting would hold together in his absence. In the first innings in Adelaide, Kohli showed glimpses of could have been, playing a typically controlled 74-run knock before an unfortunate run-out.
Ajinkya Rahane 8/10
268 runs @38.28, HS: 112, 1 hundred
India’s stand-in captain proved to be a stellar leadership figure, helping India bounce back from the rout in Adelaide with a masterful Test century in Melbourne, which possibly set the tone for the entire series. As skipper, he used his depleting bowling options admirably, and kept Australia on the backfoot with his attacking tactics.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) January 19, 2021
Rishabh Pant 8.5/10
274 runs @68.50, HS: 97, 2 fifties
Overlooked for the first Test, Pant’s entry into the team brought about a refreshing change to the middle order. Two stellar knocks in back-to-back Tests, 97 in Sydney and 89* in Brisbane, have all but sealed his place as the first-choice wicketkeeper, even if there was the odd skirmish behind the stumps.
Hanuma Vihari 7.5/10
72 runs @18.00, HS: 23*
The walls were closing in on Vihari after he couldn’t manage significant scores in the Adelaide and Melbourne, but a defining 23-run effort in India’s great Sydney resistance, despite a hamstring injury, made him an overnight hero, possibly resurrecting his Test career.
Wriddhiman Saha 3/10
13 runs @6.50, HS: 9
It’s hard to predict anything in Indian cricket at the moment, but Wriddhiman Saha might well have played his final Test series away from home. Saha was initially preferred over Pant for the first Test, but after the disappointing loss, he was benched in favour of the younger wicketkeeper. He made a cameo appearance in Sydney with Pant injured and plucked a brilliant catch during his stay behind the stumps.
Washington Sundar 8/10
84 runs @42.00, HS: 62. 1 fifty; 4 wickets @42.25, BBI: 4-169
Another player who wasn’t initially in the scheme of things for the Test side, Sundar fit right into the team when the injury count started swelling. Ravindra Jadeja’s absence saw him fill the all-rounder’s role, and he did what he was slotted in for, plucking crucial wickets in his maiden game, and contributing with gritty innings down the order.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) January 19, 2021
Ravindra Jadeja 8/10
85 runs @85.00, HS: 57, 1 fifty; 7 wickets @15.00, BBI: 4-62
He missed the first Test, but Jadeja almost instantly imparted balance to the XI with his inclusion in Melbourne, scoring a crucial fifty in their win. A four-wicket haul in the Sydney Test highlighted his immense value, but a finger injury proved to be a body blow for the team ahead of the fourth game.
Ravichandran Ashwin 8.5/10
12 wickets @28.83, BBI: 4-55; 78 runs @19.50, HS: 38*
Often picking up injuries on overseas tours, Ashwin arguably bowled some of the best he has away from home, before sustaining a back issue in Sydney. Before that, the flight, dip and turn were all on point, with the dismissal of Steve Smith off a peach particularly standing out. His dipping form with the bat in the recent past had been concerning, but he quelled all doubts of his all-round ability during his gritty Sydney masterclass alongside Vihari.
Shardul Thakur 8.5/10
7 wickets @22.14, BBI: 4-62; 69 runs @34.50, HS: 67, 1 fifty
Originally included exclusively for the limited-overs series, Shardul proved to fit right into the Test setup, showing his all-round prowess with a three-wicket haul and a fifty. It’s an effort that could help him move out of the fringes and add him to India’s core group of options in the longest format.
T Natarajan 6/10
3 wickets @39.66, BBI: 3-78
His maiden call-up to the Indian team culminated with a debut in all three formats, and a tour to remember. He was originally supposed to be a nets bowlers for Tests, but a spate of injuries paved the way for a debut in Brisbane, where he ended with three wickets in his first outing.
Mohammed Siraj 9/10
13 wickets @29.53, BBI: 5-73
Before the series began, Siraj wouldn’t have been assured of a place in the XI, given the number of experienced options ahead of him. By the fourth Test, however, Siraj had proved that he was no less, combining subtle movement and brisk pace to great effect, and ending with a maiden five-wicket haul, and the most wickets by an Indian bowler in the series.
Navdeep Saini 4/10
4 wickets @43.00, BBI: 2-54
Saini had the chance to be a pivotal figure in the fourth game due to injuries to other bowlers, but an ankle issue of his own hampered his own participation. He ended up bowling just 12.5 overs in all, and picked up four wickets in as many innings in the series.
Umesh Yadav 2/10
4 wickets @33.25, BBI: 3-40
With no Ishant Sharma or Bhuvneshwar Kumar available, Umesh was supposed to be the experienced head in a new-look bowling attack. However, his participation was limited to just four innings, where he picked four wickets, before a calf injury flared up, sending him back home early.
Jasprit Bumrah 7.5/10
11 wickets @29.36, BBI: 4-56
India’s pace spearhead had a rather mellow outing in the limited-overs series, but looked in relatively better nick with the red ball in hand, even though he wasn’t arguably at his best. By the time the Sydney Test was done, though, Bumrah became an addition to India’s long list of injury problems, missing the final Test with an abdominal strain.
Mohammed Shami 3/10
0 wickets, BBI: 8-41
A vital cog in India’s Test bowling attack, Shami became one of the earliest victims on India’s injured list, copping a painful blow on his forearm during the 36-run colloapse Adelaide. He remained wicketless in the 17 overs he’d bowled in the first innings.