India clinched a massive 321-run victory against New Zealand on Tuesday, whitewashing the visitors 3-0, and also moving to No 1 in the ICC Test rankings in the process. The win in Indore was a carbon copy of what took place in the series earlier, as the hosts outplayed a very good New Zealand side.
India are now looking extremely strong, ahead of the long Test season at home. They have 10 more Tests at home this season, and they have gotten off to the best possible start. The Indians have batted, bowled and fielded with real purpose and intent, and will surely start heavy favourites for the matches to follow.
Most Indian players performed admirably and there were few exceptions. Here are marks out of 10 for the Indian squad:
Murali Vijay: 6 — It wasn't a vintage series for Murali Vijay, but he did more than enough to secure his place as India's senior opener for the medium to long term. He made two half-centuries, with a best of 76, to finish with 186 runs in the series. He is sure to keep his place for the upcoming series against England.
Cheteshwar Pujara: 9 — Pujara has continued his amazing form since returning from the West Indies and finished the series as the leading run-scorer with 373 runs at an average of 74.6. His second innings hundred in the final Test showed that he has the versatility to up the tempo if needed.
Virat Kohli: 7 — It had been a very poor series with the bat by the Indian skipper, before he made his career best 211 in Indore. That innings boosted his contribution as a batsman. As a captain, however, it is difficult to find too much fault with how he has gone about things, and a 3-0 series win is a fair reflection of his side's dominance. If you were being really picky about tactics, you could point out that he sometimes moves away from the bowlers who are most likely to take wickets even when they still have the energy to bowl more, but that is being really pedantic.
Ajinkya Rahane: 8 — The unsung hero of this Indian team, Rahane is the lynchpin that holds the top and bottom of the batting line-up together. Calm, assured and rarely flustered, Rahane just goes about scoring runs in a way that you don't even notice he is doing it. This quality is entirely to his credit. A career best 188 in the final Test saw his series average jump to 69.4.
Rohit Sharma: 7 — A half-century in each of the Tests, and playing a part in setting up declarations with quick scoring, this was a very good series for Rohit Sharma, without him playing the one stand-out innings. Batting at six with the licence to score quickly, he had the best strike-rate of anyone in the top seven in this series. Rohit finally has a role to play in the Test team, which is something he had been missing for much of his career. He finished second in the averages with 79.33 and can walk away knowing he is in the side for the foreseeable future.
Wriddhiman Saha: 6 — Saha did well enough with the gloves and scored two half-centuries from three innings in the series. Such was the dominance of the Indian top-order that he wasn't often needed with bat in hand. He made a duck in the first Test, but came back well to make undefeated 50s in both innings of the second. Such was the abundance of bowled and LBWs that there were few chances for Saha behind the stumps. However, his keeping was tidy and uneventful.
Ravichandran Ashwin: 10 — Ashwin has been immense for India for a long time, but he was virtually unstoppable in this series. He claimed 27 wickets, the second most by an Indian bowler in a three-match Test series, and had three five-wicket hauls. In the final Test in Indore, he claimed a career best 7 for 59 to finish with match figures of 13 for 140. We did not see the heroics with the bat that were a feature of the series in the Caribbean, but his bowling was more than enough to get him full marks.
Ravindra Jadeja: 8 — A 50 with the bat and 14 wickets with the ball, this was a very good series for the hirsute Jadeja. An excellent foil for Ashwin, his ability to get natural variation from Indian surfaces is second to none. While he has struggled while playing away from home at times, there is no doubting that he is a real wicket-taker at home.
Mohammad Shami: 6 — There were just eight wickets for Shami in this series, but he did the job that was asked of him. Conditions have not been favourable to seam bowlers during these three Tests and Shami got as much out of the pitch as any other quick in his team. He conceded just 3.23 runs an over, and never allowed the New Zealand batsmen to get on top of him.
Umseh Yadav: 5 — Yadav had very similar issues to Shami, in that conditions did not suit them, but where Shami prized out the odd wicket, Yadav managed just two victims in his two Tests. An excellent economy rate of 2.69 runs per over is enough to get him half marks.
Played one Test:
Gautam Gambhir: 6
KL Rahul: 4
Shikhar Dhawan: 3
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 7
First Published On : Oct 12, 2016 16:34 IST