The same questions remain about performance abroad and will only be put to rest if Vijay can score abroad. But for now Vijay has changed from a free stroking player to a grafter and grinder. After twin failures in Chennai, Vijay's scores read 167, DNB, 153, 26, 57, 11. Played a key role in setting up huge partnerships at the start of the innings and setting the foundation for a big score.
The grade says it all. In a series where the new kids made hay, Sehwag was the epitome of the dying old guard. Deservedly dropped, he was quickly forgotten with the debut of...
Only one innings, and against a pretty tepid attack, but still one of the most explosive debuts in a long while. Dhawan's speed of scoring almost single-handed dragged an Indian win back into the reckoning after a full day had been lost to rain, and Aus batted more than 4 sessions to amass 400. His hitting-on-the-up style may not be able to cope with the extra bounce in South Africa, or late swing in England, but certainly a fantastic confidence-filled debut that exceeded everyone's expectations by a huge margin.
Dravid who? A long way to go to fill those shoes, but Pujara brings the same kind of reassuring calm to the crucial one-drop position that Dravid did (and he doesn't seem to have a mental block about opening either). An important 40 that started India on its winning ways in T1 was followed by a mammoth double ton in T2, opened in T3I2 and T4 despite being injured, and was critical to our chasing in T4. And has upped his scoring rate. Still got out once hooking but seemingly put the stroke away after that (or maybe he only hooks when he is past 150!).
In a series dominated by Indian bats, this is close to a failing grade. Was truly assured in T1 for a crucial 81 at the one time India were in real distress (11/2 chasing 380) that I optimistically thought augured a new dawn. But in the rest of the Tests he routinely fell to Lyon, and his line read 7, 37, 21, 32, 1. He won't play international cricket in India again, and may not tour. If this was a last look, it wasn't a great one.
His ton in T1 took India to safety and set the foundation for a brutal *** by Dhoni. Was Mr. Consistent after that, scoring routine 30's but not getting that big score. Needs to convert those starts, but continues to remain, with Pujara, the brightest hope for Indian batting. Should begin to work on his bowling, as India will need a bat to turn his arm over a few times on foreign tours where we play only 4 bowlers.
I had high hopes for Rahane -- like Pujara and Dhawan, came into the side on the basis of years of good Ranji performances; in fact, the most impressive young Ranji bat of recent times. And if there is one thing I will remember about Pujara's and Dhawan's debut, it was the supreme confidence with which they asserted themselves onto their debut Tests. Pujara was promoted to replace a legend on his home ground chasing a tricky 250+ target and responded with a cool 80-odd that sealed the win, and even Dhawan's mother would not have imagined the debut he had, opening against a tough 400 total. Rahane, by contrast, was a bundle of nerves in both innings, getting out both to Lyon, and managing to look completely ridiculous in I4. Very disappointing, but hopefully we can ascribe this to debut butterflies and that he will be much better when he next plays for India (which will be abroad; so it is good to get this out of the way).
The double-ton was the knock of the series for me. The first Test was evenly poised when Harbhajan fell, and Dhoni's masterclass on batting with the tail and the complete destruction of the Aussie bowling demolished all Aussie pretensions of grandeur, and set the tone for the 4-0 drubbing that ensued. Was much more animated on the field as a leader, and appeared to make better tactical decisions, though when you win big, lots of flaws get swept under the rug. The away tours will be his (and Fletcher's) true "Tests."
The find of the series. His batting still isn't remotely as good as expected, but if T4 is anything to go by, will get better. His bowling was amazingly good, and with his control he can be a fine 4th bowler abroad as well (assuming we play 2 spinners). I actually see him as a possible #8 for many years to come, giving real strength and stability to the tail.
Did nothing to show that he deserved his recall in the 15, let alone being preferred to Ojha.
Numbers are a bit skewed. Took two 3-wicket bursts that destroyed the top-order when no one else could make a dent. Got very few chances with the old ball. Very handy bat down the order, lifts his grade out of the C's. He helped Dhoni set up T1 win with obdurate resistance.
When will I'shan't take wickets, actually take wickets? Not this series I presume, though Kumar's success did prompt him to bowl with more fire than in a while. Still the worst stats of any true bowler after 50 Tests by some margin.
Obviously low on confidence when he returned after missing the first two Tests, Ojha was outbowled by both Jadeja & Ashwin. May find himself riding the bench abroad if Jadeja continues to bowl as he did.
Lot's of high India grade, but that is to be expected when a side wins 4-0.