Image credit: AFP.
New Delhi: Yet another thorough professional performance from Virat Kohli and his team has ensured Team India will not lose the Test series against England. A comprehensive 8-wicket win over the visitors at their fortress Mohali in the third Test means the hosts have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Here's CricketNext's Report Card of Team India for the third Test where we evaluate the performance of each player:
Murali Vijay - Rating 2: Verdict: Very Poor
Yet another Test match, which saw India's premier opener struggling to get going. It is not just the lack of runs that is bothering cricket fans and pundits alike about Vijay, but his body language on the field also leaves a lot to be desired. For a man who was the paragon of consistency and patience just a few months back, Vijay looks to be battling a lot more than just poor form. Vijay was dismissed cheaply in both innings while trying to poke at shortish deliveries around the chest height on or just outside the off stump. With the team on a high, the opening bat is not under much pressure and should take advantage of the situation to get amongst the runs again.
Parthiv Patel - Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Drafted into the playing XI in place of Wriddhiman Saha, who was rested after picking up a side strain, Parthiv Patel made a comeback to the Test arena after 8 long years. While his wicket-keeping was just about okay, Parthiv made the headlines due to his batting at the top of the order. A well crafted 41 in the first innings gave Team India the perfect start and the southpaw was at his attacking best while chasing a small target in the second innings to remain unbeaten on 67. This performance might not be enough to dislodge Saha just yet, but Parthiv is definitely back in the reckoning in the international arena.
Cheteshwar Pujara - Rating: 7 Verdict: Good
He is the mainstay of India's batting in Test matches and it was evident in Mohali too. Pujara scored a half-century in the first innings and it was the fall of his wicket, which triggered a middle-order collapse that almost handing England the initiative in the Test match. Pujara looked solid in the second innings too, before being dismissed for 25, although India was on their way to victory by then. He is Team India's man in form and the management would look at him to keep providing the foundation for big scores.
Virat Kohli: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
The Indian captain was amongst the runs again as he scored 62 in the first innings. Kohli's maturity as a batsman and as a leader is there for everyone to see. He was not needed to produce any heroics at Mohali but the the Indian captain did just about everything right.
Ajinkya Rahane: Rating: 3 Verdict: Poor
When the runs dry up suddenly, even the most elegant batsmen start to look bad. For a man who scored more 300 runs in the last series, Rahane's poor run of form against England has baffled the batsman as well as the fans. Rahane has scored just 63 runs in his 5 innings in the series at a paltry average of 12.60. Add to that, he was dismissed for a duck in his career for the fourth time in this Test. Things can only get better from here and with the team on top, Rahane would look to spend some time in the middle in the next Test, specially as he will be playing on his home ground.
We are not rating Karun Nair given that he was run-out in the first innings and didn't really have much part to play in the Test. He will surely get more opportunities to showcase his talent in the days to come and that will give us all a chance to talk about him.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
Ravichandran Ashwin can do no wrong currently. Be it as a bowler or as a batsman, Ashwin is at the top of his game. His batting skills rescued India yet again, after a middle order collapse almost handed the visitors the initiative. Replying to England's first innings score of 283, India collapsed to 156/5 from 148/2, when Ashwin walked in to bat. He first shared a 50-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli, and then took India into the lead along with his spin twin Ravindra Jadeja. His innings of 72 was pivotal for the hosts. He then picked up the crucial wickets of England skipper Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes in the second innings to put India on the path to victory. Ashwin is now the second highest wicket-taker in the series with 15 scalps.
Ravindra Jadeja: Rating: 9 Verdict: Very Good
Ravindra Jadeja the batsman was called in to action in this Test match and he delivered. Jadeja's knock of 90 was the cornerstone of India's first innings. He ensured the hosts had a big enough lead to put the visitors under pressure. He also ended the match with 4 wickets, removing the dangerous duo of Buttler and Stokes in the first innings and also picked up the all important wicket of Joe Root in the second. His all-round efforts landed the southpaw the 'Man of the Match' award.
Jayant Yadav: Rating: 8 Verdict: Very Good
Jayant Yadav's impressive start to his Test career continued in Mohali. He picked up the crucial wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in the first innings to help India bowl out England for a below par total. He then showcased his batting skills by putting up a crucial partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, that extended India's first innings lead beyond the 100-run mark, also notching up his maiden Test half-century along the way. The Haryana offie removed Bairstow again in the second innings and also got the wicket of Jos Buttler, who was looking to get quick runs for his team.
Mohammed Shami: Rating: 9 Verdict: Very Good
Mohammad Shami has bowled his heart out in this series and it is there for everyone to see. Shami's bad luck with the fielders dropping catches continued in Mohali as well; as Ashwin dropped a sitter from Alastair Cook. But the Bengal paceman came right back to remove the dangerous Moeen Ali with a well directed short delivery. Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the first innings as he finished with 3 wickets. In the second innings Shami produced the delivery of the match to get rid of Chris Woakes, who was frustrating India with a late stand with the impressive Haseeb Hameed. Another short delivery sent Adil Rashid packing. Mohammad Shami showed all the Indian pace bowlers what one can achieve on these wickets if they are ready to bend their backs. He is now the second highest wicket-taker for India in the series with 10 scalps.
Umesh Yadav: Rating: 7 Verdict: Good
Umesh Yadav has been the perfect foil for Shami in this series and has bowled with a lot of discipline and vigour. Yadav removed the plucky Haseeb Hameed with a stinging delivery, which caught the youngster on his gloves. The blow meant Haseeb has now been ruled out of the rest of the series. He also removed Chris Woakes, who was looking to get some crucial runs for England late in the innings. Umesh also impressed with his temperament with bat, lasting 42 balls in the first innings to allow Jayant Yadav notch up his maiden Test fifty.