There were no excuses for the Indian batsmen at the Adelaide Oval on a pitch that was going to be a batsman’s paradise. It was the best of batting conditions, one could find in Australia, especially for teams from the sub-continent. And yet the Indian batsmen faltered twice in the match to go onto concede a cleansweep to the Aussies. While the big Indian batting names failed, the Australian counterparts came good again as the hosts piled up a massive total of 604. India could have even lost the Test Match by an innings but for Michael Clarke’s decision to bat again to give his bowlers rest in hot conditions. To the credit of the Indians, it was only for the first time that a Test Match in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has gone into a fifth day!
Well whatever it is lets’ see how the Indian players fared in the Adelaide Test :
1. Gautam Gambhir (Marks : 3/10) : The left-handed opener could not contribute anything really for India even in this final match except for a brilliant run out of Michael Hussey fielding at silly point. In the first innings, Gautam Gambhir looked alright getting to 34 and lasting 34 overs until he got out in the same fashion as in the Perh Test, fending off a nasty rising delivery into the slip cordon. In the second innings, Gambhir was forced to nick at a very good away swinger from Ryan Harris. One has to say that Gautam Gambhir has been unlucky to get out to two good deliveries in the match and perhaps he hardly could change his fate.
2. Virender Sehwag (Marks : 2/10) : He was the Stand-in Captain for India in the absence of MS Dhoni for this Adelaide Test. Virender Sehwag was playing for his pride and also had the added responsibility to lead the side from the front which didn’t happen at all! Amazingly Sehwag got out to harmless full tosses in both the innings of the match! In the first innings, he was caught and bowled for 18 by Peter Siddle after getting a leading edge while whipping a high full toss.
In the second innings, Virender Sehwag blazed his way to a rapid half century but never was looking convincing as he was taking far too many risks in his knock. He got out in the most bizarre fashion, well set on 62 when he charged down the track to clobber a Nathan Lyon high full out of the park but only to get another fatal leading edge to a fielder for the second time in the Test Match! Sehwag’s captaincy wasn’t great either as he let Australia slip away from 84 for 3 to a 600 plus total!
3. Rahul Dravid (Marks : 0/10) : Unfortunately the 39-year-old Rahul Dravid has become a liability for India on this tour. In what was speculated to be his last Test, Dravid came up with scores of 1 and 25. Neither he could score the runs nor could he provide any stability to the team at no.3! Its time to call it quits for Rahul Dravid!
4. Sachin Tendulkar (Marks : 1/10) : For all the hype that surrounds Sachin Tendulkar, the little master has yet again not done anything special for his team. His own milestone of getting the 100th International ton is still hanging in the air and the Aussies have done a great job in denying him that record in this Test Series! Tendulkar for all his greatness couldn’t do a one-man job as well to pull his side out of the woods! The only thing is that his footwork and technique are still really good. The biggest disappointment for India in the Adelaide Test was Sachin Tendulkar tamely getting out to the off spin of Nathan Lyon!
5. VVS Laxman (Marks : 2/10) : Can’t bat, Can’t run and Can’t chase is what VVS Laxman has specialized on this Australian tour. Like Dravid, it was speculated that the 39-year-old VVS Laxman has also played his last Test match. Laxman out of all the bowlers in the world got out twice in the Adelaide Test to the off spinner Nathan Lyon that too after getting himself to a start. The Hyderabadi has contributed very little to India’s cause in this Series and its time for him to retire with dignity.
6. Virat Kohli (Marks : 8/10) : The 23-year-old has proved that he can take care of the Indian batting in the coming future! Virat Kohli has certainly cemented a permanent berth in the Indian Test team with his maiden Test Century which came after his impressive 75 at the fast and bouncy WACA pitch in Perth. Virat Kohli has shown that he has enough time to handle the fast bowlers, he is quick to pounce onto the backfoot and play his shots freely whether it is the pull shot or the punch through the off side. The stylish Virat Kohli has also shown that he can bat out the good balls and has the desired patience to leave balls outside off. On top of that, Virat can counter attack the opposition bowlers if required whether its on the ground or in the air!
7. Wriddhiman Saha (Marks : 7/10) : He got into the side thanks to the ban on MS Dhoni. Wriddhiman Saha, the 27-year-old Wicket Keeper from Bengal has shown that not only is his glove work reliable but also his batting. Unlike MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha has his basics right when it comes to the right technique of batting. While Dhoni has a very poor batting technique and is depends on his luck and power shots, Saha is more orthodox and is easily more capable than the former when it comes to battling against better fast bowlers in testing conditions. India should start looking at Wriddhiman Saha for Test Cricket and ease out MS Dhoni from the longer version of the game.
8. R Ashwin (Marks : 4/10) : This tall off-spinner can be excused of this being only his first overseas tour. Ashwin is also just 25 years of age and is too young to deliver the stuff straightaway at this highest level. He did show some improvement in his bowling in the Adelaide Test and in the second innings was very potent especially against the left-handers. However, there is a huge room for improvement especially in the lines that he bowls outside India. It was disappointing to observe Nathan Lyon bowling better and extracting more off the Adelaide track than our Ashwin. The brighter part of R Ashwin is his batting and if gets the support from the other end, he certainly can bat long!
9. Zaheer Khan (Marks : 5/10) : First of all it was surprising and yet refreshing to see Zaheer Khan stay fit right through a 4-Test Match Series! Like always it has been, Zaheer Khan has bowled brilliantly but lack of pressure from his bowling colleagues at the other end has let India down. Zaheer could have also picked up a lot more wickets had there been enough pressure at the other end. On his own, I suspect Zaheer bowled his heart out with little rewards. The 33-year-old atleast got the respect of his opposition. One problem for Zaheer is that he may not bowl as quick as he could in his younger days and that might make him lesser effective especially when the ball gets softer and the conditions aren’t too conducive for reverse swing.
10. Ishant Sharma (Marks : 2/10) : He has the height, he has the pace and the bounce, and yet Ishant Sharma fails to get bagful of wickets on most occasions. The lanky speedster isn’t able to destroy batting line-ups on his own. May be he is lacking in novelty in his bowling. There was also a case against Ishant Sharma for bowling on both sides of the wicket. The lengths haven’t been full enough as well from Ishant to get the batsmen doing mistakes nor has he produced the magic balls that the Aussies so often did in the series.
11. Umesh Yadav (Marks : 2/10) : This boy is a serious talent for India but being very young at this level, Umesh Yadav hasn’t learnt in maintaining consistency in his performances. Yadav has often blown hot and cold in his bowling spells. At Adelaide, Umesh Yadav let his team down on Day 1 by spraying the ball on both the sides of the wicket and leaking far too many runs. He was never able to bowl six balls at a spot to sustain the pressure on the batsmen. But with age on his side, Umesh Yadav should learn the art of fast bowling that is needed to succeed at this highest level.
- A Feature by BV Swagath