After faltering in the first Test of the series, India came back in resounding fashion to claim the trophy and secure a spot in the World Test Championship final.
The series had it all: constant pitch debates, on-field controversies, off-field chatter, you name it all. However, it was a dominant Indian team, following the tried-and-tested template of spin at home, that sailed through to secure a 3-1 win.
Here are marks out of 10 for the home team:
Shubman Gill – 3/10
119 runs @ 19.83, 1 50, HS: 50
After a string of solid performances, Gill’s numbers tailed off in the England series, with just one 30+ score to show in seven innings. Sunil Gavaskar said that Gill, just 21, might be feeling the pressure of expectations. Mayank Agarwal is waiting on the sidelines, but with the next Test series some distance away, Gill will be spared of immediate scrutiny.
Rohit Sharma – 8.5/10
345 runs @ 57.50, 1 100, 1 50, HS: 161
A series performance that would have shut down all detractors. Even as his fellow batters struggled to find their mojo, Rohit looked in prime touch, comfortably finishing as India’s leading run-getter in the series. Headlining his effort was a magnificent 161 in the second Test which helped shake off the disappointment of the first Test. He followed it with scores of 66 and 49, sealing his place as their first-choice opener in the format.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 3/10
133 runs @ 22.16, 1 50, HS: 73
After a memorable tour of Australia, where his brave knock on the final day of the series played a key role in their triumph, Pujara found it tough to get going on home soil. After a gritty 73 in the opening game, Jack Leach turned out to be his tormentor-in-chief, snaring him as many as four times, as Pujara’s tried-and-tested ploy to step out of the crease was countered well by the England spinners.
Virat Kohli – 5.5/10
172 runs @ 28.66, 2 50s, HS: 72
The search for his 71st international century continues, but Kohli is far from really looking out of form, having played two of the finest sub-100 innings of his career in the two Chennai Tests. While the final series average still ended up being substandard, Kohli, the captain, was on point with his tactical changes through the tour.
Ajinkya Rahane – 3/10
112 runs @ 18.66, 1 50, HS: 67
Another home series where Rahane failed to create an impact. Barring one fifty, which promised a return to form, Rahane looked short on confidence, as pointed out by Sanjay Manjrekar, even as he repeatedly defended himself in pressers. While his captaincy credentials cannot be doubted, the noose is tightening on Rahane, the batsman, who has hit just one century in his last 20 innings.
Rishabh Pant – 9/10
270 runs @ 54.00, 1 100, 2 50s, HS: 101
The legend of Pant continues to grow. After his resounding success in Australia, Pant only seems to have gotten better, not just in terms of his batting, but also his work behind the stumps. His century in the final Test, complete with shots like this one, has ensured that Pant will now be one of the first names on the Test team sheet when India play next.
Axar Patel – 9/10
27 wickets @ 10.59, BBI: 6-38; 55 runs @ 13.75, HS: 43
Easily the find of the tour. Few would have expected Axar to announce himself to Test cricket as emphatically as he did, running through the English batting line-up innings after innings with his crafty left-arm spin. It’ll be a happy headache when Ravindra Jadeja is also available for selection, but for now, Axar’s performance was definitely India’s single biggest win in their series triumph.
R Ashwin – 9/10
32 wickets @ 14.71, BBI: 6-61; 189 runs @ 31.50, HS: 106
A series that truly showcased the return of R Ashwin, the all-rounder. While his bowling itself was at the forefront of India’s bowling effort (only once has he taken more wickets in a series), Ashwin’s batting perfectly complemented his beguiling spin. Averaging better than most of India’s specialist batsmen, he hit his fifth Test hundred, apart from taking two five-fors.
Washington Sundar 7/10
181 runs @ 90.50, 2 50s, HS: 96*; 2 wickets @ 65.00, BBI: 1-1
Slotted into the team as another spin option, Washington, just like in the Australia series, showcased his batting abilities with two valuable fifties, one of them ending agonisingly short of a maiden ton. Both times, he pulled India out of a tricky spot, making himself an able lower-order all-round option for the future. A poor performance with the ball in the first Test sees him lose points.
Ishant Sharma 7.5/10
6 wickets @ 26.66, BBI: 2-22
Returning to the team after a significant layoff, Ishant was quick to settle into his role, bowling his heart out on surfaces that provided little to the quicks. After bowling 27 overs in the first Test, Ishant’s role was limited to only brief spells, but he still ended up being India’s third-highest wicket-taker, behind the spin duo.
Mohammad Siraj 7/10
3 wickets @ 22.66, BBI: 2-45
Preferred over Umesh Yadav for the final Test, Siraj showed why he’s a handy option to have in home Tests, using his natural inswing to the right-handers to good effect. In a series where pace bowling took a backseat for the home side, Siraj produced the occasional bits of brilliance, such as this dismissal of Root. Loses marks for failing to help Sundar to his hundred.
Jasprit Bumrah 6/10
4 wickets @ 32.25, BBI: 3-84
Playing his first Test series on home soil, Bumrah was atypically left in the shadows, ending a Test series without a five-wicket haul for the third consecutive time, and missing the final game due to personal reasons.
Kuldeep Yadav 5/10
2 wickets @ 20.50, BBI: 2-25
With a well-settled spin attack in place, it has become increasingly difficult for Kuldeep Yadav to find a spot in the XI. In the only game he played, Kuldeep picked up a couple of wickets, staying in the shadows as Ashwin and Axar did the damage.
Shahbaz Nadeem 2.5/10
4 wickets @ 58.25, BBI: 2-66
You’d be excused if you have forgotten Nadeem was part of this series, playing a muted role in the loss in the opening game. Nadeem struggled with his line and length and was instantly replaced by a fit-again Axar for the remainder of the series, a move that turned out to be a masterstroke.
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