New Delhi: Virat Kohli led from the front as Team India thrashed Bangladesh by 208 runs in the one-off Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Monday. The victory took Team India’s unbeaten run to 19 Test matches.
If Kohli scored his fourth double hundred in four successive series, Umesh Yadav stamped his class, bowling beautifully right through the match on a wicket that provided minimal help to the bowlers. Not to forget comeback man Wriddhiman Saha’s gritty century in the first innings and Ravindra Jadeja’s tireless spell on the fifth day.
Here's CricketNext's Report Card of Team India after the Test as we evaluate the performance of each player during the match:
Virat Kohli: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
Evaluating humans is one thing. But to evaluate a man who could give a machine a run for its money is definitely a tough task. Be it with the bat in hand or while strategising the opposition’s downfall, Kohli is going through a purple patch. While he can put no foot wrong with bat in hand, his decisions on the field were impressive as well. If he used Umesh Yadav with aplomb in Bangladesh’s first innings, Kohli was spot on in handing the ball to Ishant on the fifth day when the spinners weren’t able to get much purchase from the track. Kohli has led from the front and set the tone for his boys.
Murali Vijay: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
Vijay has been one of India’s most consistent openers in recent times and he continued the good work against Bangladesh. While he failed in the second innings, his 108 in the first innings was crucial after India lost opener KL Rahul off the fourth ball of the match. Along with Pujara, he was instrumental in laying the foundation for a huge first innings total. He still has a slight weakness against the rising ball early in the innings, but once set, he is a delight to watch. But Vijay would be looking to work further on his game outside the off-stump as the next series against Australia could have the fast bowlers testing him outside the channel of the off-stump.
KL Rahul: Rating 2: Verdict: Very Poor
Playing attacking cricket is one thing. But to attack every delivery is an instinct and Rahul needs to work on that if he wants to remain in the Test team as an opener. His expansive drive off Taskin Ahmed’s fourth delivery of the first day was uncalled for. Rahul needs to learn to be patient, at least in the first session as the ball does swing around a bit even on dead Indian wickets. In the second innings he perished trying to poke Taskin outside the off stump. Even though the team needed quick runs, the poke was clearly an error in judgment.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
For long, Pujara has been considered a Test specialist. In fact, his defensive approach has seen him going unsold in the IPL auction. But the perception has been undergoing a change ever since Pujara returned to the Indian team in the West Indies. And in the second innings, he passed a clear message to all who think he is a Test specialist. With the team needing quick runs, he hit a 58-ball 54* to show the world that he too can play the shots when needed. In fact, he went on to make his intentions clear when he told the media that he was hoping for a change in perception post the knock. In the first innings too, he hit 83 and was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century.
Ajinkya Rahane: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
Back in the Test fold after an injury-induced lay-off, Rahane showed grit and determination as he scored a fighting fifty in the first innings. Even though he started off a little shaky, the vintage drives and pulls were out by the time he was dismissed for 82. In the second innings, he looked more confident in approach and an attempt to up the scoring rate saw him dismissed for 28. With all talks about Karun Nair breathing down his neck, it was important that Rahane reposed the faith that Kohli had shown in his deputy and the former did just that. It was also important that Rahane scored some runs going into the intense four-match Test series against Australia.
Wriddhiman Saha: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
Another player who was making a comeback after an injury-induced lay-off. And Saha showed what it means to return with a bang. Be it scoring a century with the bat or picking up sharp chances behind the stumps, Saha didn’t put a foot wrong in the game. Chief selector MSK Prasad had made it clear that despite Parthiv Patel’s terrific show in the series against England, Saha is the team’s first-choice wicket-keeper and that definitely boosted his confidence as he shone with the bat as well. All in all, it was the much-needed confidence booster for the man who is India’s best wicket-keeper at present.
R Ashwin: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
He did pick six wickets in the game and also became the fastest to scalp 250 Test wickets, but to be fair, Ashwin didn’t match the high standards that he sets. With the wicket not offering much turn and bounce, Ashwin was deemed ineffective for the better part of the game. Also, with the Bangladesh batsmen keen on dominating India’s spin spearhead, it felt like Ashwin had gone into the shell. In fact, at one point Kohli had to rely on the pacers to join hands with Ravindra Jadeja on the final day as Ashwin didn’t look like picking wickets.
Ravindra Jadeja: Rating 8.5: Verdict: Very Good
Like Ashwin, Jadeja too picked six wickets in the game. But then, it was the effort that won Jadeja accolades. He kept bowling non-stop from one end as Kohli tried bowling pacers from the other end. With Ashwin failing to pile the pressure, Kohli looked at Jadeja to deliver and he didn’t disappoint. In fact, Jadeja resembled a machine as he kept pitching the ball in the same area over and over again. Not to forget his quickfire 60* in the first innings as he helped up the ante along with Wriddhiman Saha. He also made a 10-ball 16* as India needed quick runs before declaring the second innings.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor
The only thing Bhuvneshwar can write home about after the one-off Test is his delivery to dismiss Mehedi Hasan Miraz on the fourth morning. The duo of Miraz and Mushfiqur Rahim had raised hopes of a Bangladesh fightback on the third evening and the wicket of Miraz was the need of the hour as Kohli and Co looked to make early inroads on the fourth day. He bowled without any penetration in the second innings and finished with just one wicket having bowled 29 overs in the match.
Umesh Yadav: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
Umesh was definitely the star bowler in Bangladesh’s first innings as he finished with three wickets. More than the wickets, it was the rhythm that he was in. Shakib Al Hasan was forced to accept that he hadn’t played a more lethal spell than the one Umesh bowled on the third day. In the second innings again, Umesh started from where he had left in the first innings. Even though he didn’t pick a wicket in the second essay, he used the reverse swing to great effect and kept the Bangladesh batsmen guessing.
Ishant Sharma: Rating 7: Verdict: Good
Ishant has been slightly off colour in recent times with Mohammed Shami becoming Kohli’s first-choice pace spearhead. But with Shami rested with the upcoming series against Australia, Ishant grabbed the opportunity with both hands and got India the all-important wickets of Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah on the fifth morning after the two had put on 51 for the sixth wicket. He had also dismissed Mahmudullah in the first innings to finish the game with three wickets. His consistent line and well-directed bouncers were a welcome sight as the lanky pacer has often been criticised for failing to bowl a disciplined line.
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