New Delhi: India registered a come from behind win over Australia in the second Test by 75 runs to level the four-match series at 1-1. There were some great individual performances which allowed India to upstage the visitors after conceding an 87-run first innings lead on a track that was getting progressively difficult to bat on.
Here is CricketNext's Report Card of Team India after the second Test as we evaluate the performance of each player during the match:
KL Rahul: Rating 9: Verdict: Excellent
KL Rahul was the only Indian batsman, who looked in control and at ease against the Australians at Pune. And the opener continued in the same vein on his home ground as he played a stellar knock of 90 in the first innings, despite wickets falling all around him. Rahul's knock was measured and played just according to the demands of the situation, which helped India notch up 189 in the first innings. But it was in the second innings that he Rahul showcased his maturity at the highest level. With India trailing by 87 runs, they needed a good start at the top and Rahul not only provided a solid platform himself, he also inspired the struggling Abhinav Mukund. Rahul scored only 51 runs runs in the second innings but it was enough to put the hosts on the path of recovery. He is currently the top run-getter in the series.
Abhinav Mukund: Rating 1: Verdict: Very Poor
Abhinav Mukund had a terrible time as a substitute fielder in the first innings and failed to redeem himself, when he was handed a Test comeback after 5 years as Murali Vijay had to sit the match out due to a shoulder niggle. Mukund missed a full length delivery on his leg-stump in the first innings to be dismissed for a duck. He showed grit and determination in the second innings, but was clean bowled by Josh Hazlewood when on 16. Extreme good luck aside, Mukund may well have played his last international match.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
He is the man India looks up to in times of crisis and it is seldom that Pujara fails his team. Unlucky to have been dismissed on 17 in the first innings at the stroke of lunch, after a healthy 61-run stand with the in-form KL Rahul, the India no 3 more than made up for his misses in the series by scoring a top quality 92 in the second innings. Pujara's knock was the centrepiece of India second innings total of 274. His fifth-wicket century stand with Ajinkya Rahane gave Indian bowlers a target to defend.
Virat Kohli: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor
The law of averages had to catch up with Virat Kohli at some point and unfortunately it has happened in the all important series against the Aussies. Having said that, if you are to be called the greatest of your era, then you have to perform on the big occasions and Kohli has been found wanting on this occasion. A bad misjudgment from the batsman saw him shoulder arms to a Nathan Lyon delivery that didn't spin as much as Kohli thought it would and hit the Indian captain on the pads in front of the wicket. Kohli accentuated his mistake by wasting a review on the decision and had to eventually return to the pavilion for 12, red faced.
The Indian captain looked in good touch in the second innings but was given out LBW to a contentious decision. Kohli seemed to have missed a trick or two in captaincy as well as he severely under-bowled Ravindra Jadeja in the first innings, who picked up 6 wickets and bowled the least number of overs. All in all, not the best match in office for Kohli, but the positive result means we can expect him to comeback stronger in the remaining matches.
Ajinkya Rahane: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Ajinkya Rahane needed a knock to boost his confidence, which seems to have hit rock bottom. But the Indian vice-captain looked all at sea in the first innings against turning ball, as he was dismissed for 17 at a crucial time in the innings. Rahane charged out to negate the top spin generated by Nathan Lyon and was beaten in the flight by the wily offie. But Rahane delivered when it mattered the most. India needed him to stay at the wicket and forge a big partnership with Pujara and he did just that. Rahane fought out his demons against spin and eventually brought up a half-century, also sharing a crucial 118-run stand with Pujara. Rahane's return to form is great news for the hosts.
Karun Nair: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor
The youngster was brought into the Indian playing XI to bolster the batting but he couldn't do much to help justify his inclusion. Karun Nair scored an attacking 26 in the first innings but the manner in which he got out would raise questions on his temperament as he stepped out to Steve O'Keefe and was stumped by the keeper. His dismissal infact paved the way for the Aussie bowlers to target the tailenders. His second innings dismissal, a first ball duck, also looked very ugly as tried to play an expansive drive against a pitched up in-swinging delivery from Mitchell Starc and lost his stumps. Both shots showcase the fact that Nair still has a long way to go in establishing himself as a Test batsman.
R Ashwin: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Cometh the hour, cometh Ravichandran Ashwin. The Indian wizard was found wanting in the first innings as he picked only 2 wickets despite bowling 49 overs. But Ashwin delivered when his team needed him to, picking up 6 second innings wickets to fashion India's 75-run win. The five-wicket haul was Ashwin's 25th in 88 Test innings, which makes him the fastest to the mark, beating th likes of Muttiah Muralitharan.
If India are to win the series, they need Ashwin to be more consistent in the remaining two matches.
Wriddhiman Saha: Rating 5: Verdict: Average
Wriddhiman Saha's wicket-keeping and catching prowess is unquestionable and he showed the same on a tricky fourth day pitch yet again. The diving catch to dismiss Matthew Wade will remain the highlight for the est for him. Also, he showed great presence of mind to get important boundaries away in the second innings to increase the target needed by the Aussies to win the match. But when you are getting into the shoes of a certain MS Dhoni, your batting becomes equally important and Saha needs to contribute more in the lower order against top class opposition more consistently.
Ravindra Jadeja: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Ravindra Jadeja's role was vital in this Indian victory, as it was his six wickets in the first innings which helped India restrict the visitors to 276. Mitchell Starc and Matthew Wade were taking Australia's lead close to the 100-run mark but Jadeja wiped out the Aussie tale on the second morning to control the damage. Jadeja though needs to contribute more with the bat lower down the order.
Umesh Yadav: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets in the match and all three of them were extremely crucial given the situation of the match. Shaun Marsh looked in top form in the first innings as he brought up a fluent half-century (66) to take Australia past India's score. Umesh Yadav struck at the right time remove Marsh and broke the 57-run stand between him and Wade. In the second innings, Yadav removed Shaun Marsh yet again to set the cat among the pigeons in the Australian dressing room. But the biggest scalp was that of Aussie captain Steven Smith, whom he trapped in front of the wicket. Yadav's pace and verve has helped India maintain pressure on the Australian batsman.
Ishant Sharma: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
Ishant Sharma showed why he is still looked up to as the spearhead of India's pace attack. Ishant bowled his heart out, despite limited response from the pitch in the first innings and troubled almost all the Australian batsmen he bowled to. He gave India an important breakthrough at the stroke of tea on Day 2 by removing Mitchell Marsh. It was Ishant again who started the Australian downfall in the second innings by removing in-form opener Matt Renshaw.