Here is the CricketNext verdict on the eleven players who did duty for India in the series opener:
Shikhar Dhawan: Rating 1, Verdict: Very Poor
With so much competition for places in the line-up, Shikhar Dhawan will be having sleepless nights after yet another failure on foreign soil. Dhawan managed to get starts in both the innings (26 and 13), but failed to capitalise on it on both occasions. Dhawan's dismissal in the second innings would also have caused much despair among fans as he wafted outside the off stump to be dismissed for the umpteenth time in a similar manner.
Stuart Broad enticed Dhawan into the drive by bowling a bit full and wide. The swinging delivery took an edge off Dhawan's bat and wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow completed a routine catch. What made it even worse for Dhawan was that he was dismissed in a similar fashion in the first innings when Curran got him to drive and edge the ball into the hands of Dawid Malan in the slip cordon. Of all teams he has faced in his career, Dhawan now averages the worst against England (20.12), scoring 161 runs in 4 Tests and his place in the side for the next Test is under scrutiny.
Murali Vijay: Rating 1, Verdict: Very Poor
Like Dhawan, Murali Vijay too had a poor outing at Edgbaston as he failed in both innings. Vijay's footwork was founding wanting as he was dismissed LBW in each of the two innings by Sam Curran and Stuart Broad respectively. Moreover, Vijay's struggles on overseas tours came to the fore once more - his batting average is 28.71 percent worse and 14 runs lower when India play away. Also, he has five ducks in his career, four of which have come away from home. He had a good tour to England in 2014 and will be hoping to recover quickly to contribute in the rest of the series.
KL Rahul: Rating 1, Verdict: Very Poor
KL Rahul came into the playing XI at the expense of Cheteshwar Pujara but didn’t do himself any favours with his shot selection, particularly in the first innings. Rahul dragged a delivery from Sam Curran on to his wickets from way outside the off-stump when he could have just left the ball. His dismissal left India in a precarious situation at that stage of the game. With paltry scores of 4 and 13 in his two innings, Rahul was nowhere near his best, and will be hoping he can replicate his recent white ball form in the Test arena at Lord’s next week.
Virat Kohli: Rating 10, Verdict: Excellent
Virat Kohli reminded the world once again why he is regarded as the the best batsman of this generation. His 149 single-handedly dragged India back into the contest after the early wickets and then batted masterfully with the tail to help the visitors concede only a 13-run lead. Then, in the second innings, Kohli's half-century gave India a fighting chance of winnings the match, but once he fell to Ben Stokes for 51, England knew they had the match in the bag. Kohli’s standout performances almost single-handedly kept India in the contest and though it will be of little consolation, it ensured he dislodged Steve Smith to take the top spot in the ICC Test rankings.
Ajinkya Rahane: Rating 1, Verdict: Very Poor
Much was expected out of Ajinkya Rahane after India's top-order collapse but he too failed to come up with the goods when it mattered the most. With Virat Kohli on the other end in the first innings, Rahane's job was to steady the Indian ship but his recent troubles outside the off-stump surfaced once again and he was dismissed by Stokes. Rahane's dismissal in the second innings was much worse as he went after a short and wide delivery outside the off-stump, but ended up getting caught by wicket-keeper Bairstow off Curran. Rahane ended the match with scores of 15 & 2 and statistically, he is in the toughest phase of his Test career, averaging only 16.80 in 2018 so far.
Dinesh Karthik: Rating 1, Verdict: Very Poor
Dinesh Karthik got a place in the side in the absence of regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha, but he didn't do much to justify his inclusion. Karthik finished the match with scores of 0 and 20 and his dismissal on the fourth day started an Indian collapse. In the first innings, Karthik missed a late-swinging delivery from Stokes in the, which dislodged his stumps while a regulation edge off James Anderson, exposing the chinks in his batting technique. Moreover, with the gloves, Karthik dropped a sitter on the first day and seemed shaky throughout the match. With youngster Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings, such performances won't help his cause as far as cementing his place in the side is concerned.
Hardik Pandya: Rating 4, Verdict: Average
All-rounder Hardik Pandya didn't have the worst of Test matches in his first Test outing in England. Pandya got starts in both the innings as he ended up with scores of 22 and 31 in the two innings. Pandya did well to bat with the tail in the second essay to help India get closer to the target, but Stokes got the better of him in the end. As for his bowling, Pandya remained wicket-less in the 10 overs that he bowled in the first innings, while he didn't get a chance to bowl in the second innings as India’s top four bowlers got the job done.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Rating 9, Verdict: Very Good
Ravinchandran Ashwin once again showed why he is regarded as one of the best spin bowlers in the business. Ashwin played a more than important role in dismissing the hosts for 287 in the first innings, ending with impressive figures of 4/26 on the first day — accounting for the wickets of Alastair Cook, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad. Ashwin continued his impressive form in the second essay where he ended with figures of 3/39, dismissing the top three batsmen in the England innings after being asked to open the attack by Kohli. Though he didn’t contribute much with the bat, Ashwin’s bowling form is going to be a source of comfort for the management for the remainder of the series.
Mohammed Shami: Rating 7, Verdict: Good
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami too had a good game, especially in the first innings, where he finished with 3/64. Shami dismissed the dangerous-looking Keaton Jennings for 42 and followed it up with wickets of David Malan and Sam Curran. Although, Shami failed to get one in the second innings, he played an important role in keeping the batsmen quiet with some good tight bowling. Playing after a stint on the sidelines, Shami’s soilid start to the series bodes well for the team.
Ishant Sharma: Rating 9, Verdict: Very Good
There were two Ishant Sharma’s on show in the match — the one who seemed a bit off-colour in the first and the other who completely tore apart the English batting line-up in the second. The way Sharma bowled in the second innings brought back the memories of his Lord's heroics on the last tour when he took seven wickets to set up a memorable Indian win. Sharma finished with stunning figures of 5/51 and gave India a fighting chance in the match as the hosts were bundled out for just 180.
Umesh Yadav: Rating 6, Verdict: Good
Umesh Yadav was guilty of wasting the new ball in the first innings with his wayward bowling and that resulted in Ashwin's introduction in the attack very early. He was also the most expensive bowler for India in the first innings and managed to pick up just one wicket. But in the second innings, Yadav bounced back with a much better effort, not just scalping the wickets of half-centurion Sam Curran and Adil Rashid but also keeping the flow of runs under check. Whether he retains his place if Jasprit Bumrah is available for the second Test remains to be seen.
First Published: August 5, 2018, 5:03 PM IST