Virat-Kohli-of-India-celebrates-after-reaching-his-century7
Virat Kohli has amassed 692 runs in the four-match series against Australia © Getty Images

India lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Australia 0-2 despite some outstanding individual performances. Shiamak Unwalla marks the visitors out of 10 based on their performances over the four Tests.

1. Murali Vijay (8.5/10): One of India’s best batsmen in the series, Murali Vijay was rock solid for India at the top of the order. He scored 482 runs in the series — and ended up as the third-highest run-scorer — at an average of 60.25 with one century and four fifties.

2. Shikhar Dhawan (3/10): Barring a fighting innings of 81 at Brisbane in a match India lost, Shikhar Dhawan did very little to enhance a flagging reputation. He got a couple of tough umpiring calls, but was also guilty of playing a few too many loose shots. With KL Rahul having scored a composed ton in the last match, Dhawan’s spot in the Indian Test team is under considerable doubt.

3. KL Rahul (5/10): Three horrendous shots on what proved to be a nightmarish debut for KL Rahul made people doubt whether this was the same man who topped the Ranji Trophy batting charts last year. But Rahul finally came good at Sydney, scoring a Test hundred in only his second match and putting him firmly in contention for a spot at the top of India’s Test line-up in the future.

4. Cheteshwar Pujara (4/10): Cheteshwar Pujara has proven to be nearly as frustrating as Rohit Sharma— he manages to get starts before finding ways of getting himself out. The unwavering concentration that has led him to enjoy a home average of over 70 was conspicuous in its absence throughout the series, as Pujara was guilty of repeating the same mistakes over and over. For India’s sake, the regular No. 3 needs to find his lost form, and fast.

5. Virat Kohli (9.5/10): Is there a better batsman in India at the moment? The way Virat Kohli kept getting out in England, it had seemed like he would take a long time to get over the psychological scarring. Instead, Kohli churned out four centuries in the series, thereby becoming only the second Indian to do so after Sunil Gavaskar. With 692 runs, Kohli was also the second-highest run-scorer of the series behind Steven Smith. Kohli’s aggressive captaincy was also a pleasant surprise.

6. Ajinkya Rahane (8.5/10): If Kohli was aggressive, Ajinkya Rahane was serene. The strike rate of 63.53 could well have been higher but for the two match-saving innings he played in the fourth innings at Melbourne and Sydney. Rahane scored his runs swiftly but also showed his temperament to grind it out and play long innings. Perhaps the most unfortunate batsman of the series, Rahane frequently got out to either superb deliveries or poor umpiring calls.

7. Rohit Sharma (5/10): Rohit Sharma might have found his groove in ODIs, but he remains an exasperating enigma in Tests. The way he took on Nathan Lyon was a sight to behold, but the way he threw his wicket away on numerous occasions would make even his most diehard supporter curse him. Rohit scored a solitary fifty but got off to a good start on more than one occasion only to throw it away in the end.

8. MS Dhoni (4/10): MS Dhoni the batsman was a big disappointment, especially given how well he played in England earlier in 2014. His wicket-keeping was visibly less agile, and while the bravery he displayed with the bat in England was evident at The Gabba when he kept taking blows to the body, it seemed like his heart was not in it. Dhoni’s retirement came as a bit of a shock, but it was the right call from India’s most-capped Test skipper.

9. Wriddhiman Saha (4/10):  Wriddhiman Saha had the best opportunity of his life to cement a spot as India’s No.1 wicketkeeper in Tests, but the man who scored a hundred in the IPL final failed to put in the type of performance that would automatically qualify him for the wicket-keeping slot. Not only his batting but also his keeping too needs to be more effective if he hopes to become Dhoni’s permanent replacement in the longest format. Dinesh Karthik and Naman Ojha are close at his heels.

10. Suresh Raina (0/10): When Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Varun Aaron all outscore a frontline batsman, there is frankly no redemption. Suresh Raina grabbed a pair on his Test comeback on what was perhaps the flattest deck of the series. It will be a big surprise if he ever plays another Test for India.

11. Ravichandran Ashwin (6/10): Ravichandran Ashwin was a different bowler than he has ever been on an overseas tour. He tossed the ball up well, even when Steven Smith took him on, and frequently looked the most threatening bowler. His batting was not as fluent as it usually is, but he remains India’s best tail-ender in any situation. He managed to get a 50 in the last match, and was out to a bad decision earlier in the series.

12. Ishant Sharma (6/10): India’s most experienced bowler was also one of their most reliable ones on the tour. Ishant Sharma toiled away as usual, but was severely let down by his fellow pacers, who were guilty of spraying the ball all over the place.

13. Umesh Yadav (2/10): Having pace but no direction helps only the opposing batsmen. Umesh bowled the occasional good delivery, but sandwiched them between atrocious bowling which was usually short, almost unfailingly wide, and easy to hit.

14. Mohammed Shami (3/10): Mohammed Shami was almost as bad as Umesh, but managed to take wickets as well. In fact, Shami was one of India’s leading wicket-takers, and took the only fifer by an Indian in the series. That did not change the fact that he bowled terribly though. With bat in hand, he showed that he has ability but no temperament.

15. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/10): India’s star in England played just one match, where he failed to make any sort of an impact with the ball. He was resolute in both innings with the bat though, which is more than what could be said for most of India’s tail.

16. Varun Aaron (2/10): Very quick, equally wayward, and horribly expensive. Till Varun Aaron can find any sort of consistency his pace will be more of a hindrance than help. He also seemed like a walking wicket every time he came out to bat.

17. Karn Sharma (1/10): Of all the Indian leg-spinners to have ever toured Australia, Karn Sharma will perhaps go down as the least impressive of all time. He never looked threatening with the ball, and was so far out of his league with the bat, it was a miracle he even scored a run.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)