Ravindras Jadeja finished with figures of 5 for 30 in the first innings of fourth test vs South Africa © AFP
Ravindra Jadeja finished with figures of 5 for 30 in the first innings of fourth test vs South Africa © AFP

Ravindra Jadeja picked up his second five-wicket haul of the ongoing Gandhi-Mandela Series 2015, which ensured South Africa got bowled out cheaply in the first innings of the fourth Test against India at Delhi. India now have a golden chance to win the series in a more convincing fashion, courtesy of this excellent spell from Jadeja. In a series were batsmen have been struggling for runs, Jadeja has managed to notch up 108 runs at 21.8 with the highest score of 38. Only Murali Vijay and AB de Villiers have managed to score more than 200 runs. Jadeja has, at least, on a couple of occasions dug India out of trouble in this series. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs South Africa 2015, 4th Test at Delhi

For instance, in the ongoing Delhi Test, India were tottering at 139 for 6 when Jadeja walked in to join a well-set Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Rahane was looking set to get a huge score, having already gotten off to an excellent start. India had already lost Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha in quick succession. Had India lost another wicket, they would have been in serious trouble and would have run the risk of getting bowled out for under 200. But, Jadeja played a mature innings and scored 24 in a 59-run stand, which took India past 200. India went on to make 334 and are in a commanding position after bowling South Africa out for just 121. Full cricket updates: India vs South Africa 2015, 4th Test, Day 2 at Delhi

Jadeja’s performance with bat and ball should bring the ‘all-rounder’ debate to a pause, at least till the time India are playing at home. Even if Jadeja does not perform well with the ball, he can always prove his worth by scoring some vital runs batting at No. 8. India have experimented with Stuart Binny in the recent past. While Binny has not performed badly in the limited opportunities so far, he has not been able to cement his position in the team. Jadeja, on the other hand, has played a major role in the favourable results that India have got in this series.

With the ball, Jadeja’s strategy is simple. He just bowls wicket-to-wicket and makes the batsman play at each and every delivery. The constant pressure in which Jadeja puts the batsman in sometimes frustrates the batsman, forcing him to play a rash shot and in the end get out. We have seen many times in this series that the batsmen play for turn but the balls skids through and crash into the wickets.

This is Jadeja’s comeback series after a year away from Test cricket. He performed well in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16, where he picked up 38 wickets in four matches, including six five-wicket hauls. He also scored a couple of half-centuries and his side Saurashtra won in each and every match he played. Saurashtra, as a result, have reached the quarter-final stage of the tournament. Jadeja, courtesy of his excellent performance in the domestic circuit has booked a place for himself in the side at the moment. India do not play a Test series for a long time now, but Jadeja might be a good option to have in the limited-overs fixtures as well.

Jadeja’s performance in the series should forever put an end as to who the first-choice all-rounder in Team India should be.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)