India v Australia Test Series Review - India

Obviously I'm doing India first. Since they won, not because I would have done it anyway even if Australia had won.


Two games that seemed to be heading for draws, sprung into action on their fourth and fifth days, and ended up with India chasing relatively similar targets in the fourth innings. Which they did, the first one via an outstanding rearguard partnership between VVS Laxman and chump/champ Ishant Sharma. The second chase was much simpler, despite Sehwag's early dismissal, as Vijay, Pujara and Sachin comfortably tackled Mitch's randomness (pointed out by Test Match Sofa, whose player you'll see on the right), Hilfy's *insert German word for awesome* stuff, and George's Peter. There wasn't much tackling to do with Hauritz.

So this is how the Indian players did (in my head, but I'm known to be accurate in there):

8.5 - Sachin Tendulkar (403 runs at 134.33) : Almost always looked comfortable against all the bowlers, he bettered an already tremendous year for him. Points off, though, for getting out to a silly shot on the final day at Mohali, which could have cost India the game.

8 - Zaheer Khan (12 wickets at 21.83) : Led the attack superbly after a return from injury. Dangerous with the new ball and perhaps more with the old ball, he managed to trouble everyone (I think). Points off for lack of consistency in the second innings in Bangalore.

7.5 - VVS Laxman: Played just the one game, and literally broke himself down winning the game for India. The winning innings was so full of class that you knew Australia were bowling at him. I think some Aussie kids may have called him a 'bad boy' and stolen his biryani-filled lunchbox when he was five, those nasty sledgers. Points off for having Ishant protect him. Harsh, yes, but that's my middle name (no).

7.5 - Murali Vijay (176 runs at 88) : Looked pretty solid in both innings in Bangalore, and recorded his maiden Test hundred. Still uncomfortable handling the short ball.

7.5 - Cheteshwar Pujara: Showed enough class in the pretty final-day innings in Bangalore to make everyone forget his unfortunate first-innings dismissal. Johnson troubled him a little with the around-the-wicket angle, but to Che's credit, he didn't get out that way. He got out to Hauritz. And considering our best batsman has been getting out to shit bowlers for a couple of decades, that's not really a terrible thing.

7 - Ishant Sharma (3 wickets at 35) : Rubbish for most of the Mohali Test and missed most of the first day with an injury. Then, suddenly, he took his only 3 wickets in a quick burst to open up the game, bought some mojo from a fat Scotsman, and returned with the bat to win the game, all while looking eerily Gillespie-ish, but less frightening. Faced more deliveries (148) in one match than Sehwag and Dhoni did the entire series. 

6.5 - Pragyan Ojha (9 wickets at 38.77) : Bowled quite steadily all series, tying down the Aussies without taking too many wickets, though a couple of fantastic deliveries got rid of Watson and Clarke in Bangalore. In the Mohali chase, he held his nerve, or rather, had his nerve held by Laxman (and not in a dirty way).

6.5 - Harbhajan Singh (11 wickets at 33.18) : Took a lot of wickets for someone who didn't look overly threatening, and failed miserably with the bat (6 runs in 3 innings) for someone who considers himself an all-rounder. Failed to make the news for doing something stupid.

6 - MS Dhoni (46 runs at 15.33) : No telling contributions with the bat, and pretty ordinary behind the stumps bar one excellent stumping to get rid of Clarke in Bangalore. He was left vindicated, though, by some of his decisions, like bringing on Ishant in Mohali, or using Raina in Bangalore, and the best one yet, sending Pujara in at #3 on the final day. Points off for everything else.

5.5 - Suresh Raina (118 runs at 39.33) : Rode his luck in Mohali for an important innings, but out when he was really needed in the second innings. His only major contribution in Bangalore was getting rid of Ponting. Short-ball troubles.

5 - Rahul Dravid (112 runs at 37.33) : Looking less Wall-ish with every innings, and with a tendency to chase wide crap to boot. His most important contribution may yet be giving way to Pujara in the #3 position in Bangalore.

4.5 - Virender Sehwag (113 runs at 28.25) : Just did not want to stick around, as his series strike rate of 101.8 suggests - no - screams out. Here's a fun stat - he scored one run more than Dravid, but faced exactly half the deliveries (111 to the Wall's 222), and hit the same number of fours (17).

4 - Sreesanth (2 wickets at 63.5) : Bowled a lot of tripe, but still has that really good outswinger, and troubled the tail on the final morning in Bangalore.

3.5 - Gautam Gambhir (25 runs at 12.5) : Just an awful series for him, getting out early twice in Mohali before being ruled out of the second game. That's all.

Australia to follow. Later.