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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

India's Report Card, India vs England, Nagpur 2012

By on 8:27 PM

MSD and Kohli - Back to scoring runs.
The final test in Nagpur has been dubbed as the death of test cricket with some utterly boring cricket played by both sides thanks to a lifeless pitch. The match ended in a draw [SCORECARD] giving England a 2-1 win - a win that comes after 28 long years. India at Nagpur again looked second best and despite needing a win to stay in the game, the team simply never pushed hard enough for it. Here's a look at the Indian players performance at Nagpur.

Indian report card - read as name: TWP performance score (1st innings; 2nd innings) (pass = 4/10) 

Gautam Ghambhir: 3/10 - (37 runs; DNB)
Another start that was thrown away by chasing after a wide one. Just makes you wonder about Gambhir's attitude which has come under question in the past few days. He is a much better batsman than that and it was saddening to see him gift away his wicket, specially at a time when India needed him to stay in. It's time Gambhir starts to think about the team more and play accordingly.

Virender Sehwag: 0/10 - (0 runs;  DNB) 
When Sehwag comes good, it looks pretty outstanding but when he doesn't it looks like what it did at Nagpur. He was knocked over in the very first over thanks to a lazy defense offered to a beauty from Anderson. Whenever Sehwag has done well, India has done well and everyone wants the aggressive Sehwag, but he would do good to tighten his game early on.

Cheteshwar Pujara: 3/10 - (26 runs; DNB)
Pujara looked set for a big score but unfortunately he was given out wrongly. The ball missed his bat according to replays but with no DRS in the series, Pujara's fate was sealed. In the short time he looked very solid and India does have a champion in him.

Sachin Tendulkar: 0/10 - (2 runs; DNB)
Yet another failure for Sachin Tendulkar in the series. He was beautifully set up by Anderson and the master simply didn't have an answer to the in-swinger fromm Jimmy. Is it time for Sachin Tendulkar to leave cricket? Should he retire? A score of zero does seem to suggest something.

Virat Kohli: 8/10 - (103 runs; DNB)
Virat Kohli probably played his best innings in test cricket till date. He was under pressure to perform after continuous failures in the last three tests and his place in the team was in question. Also with India struggling at 71 for 4, the need of the hour was to build a partnership to get close to England's score and that's exactly what he did with MSD. Batting cautiously, he kept all his aggressive drives away from this innings and played a very mature innings. Gambhir can certainly learn something from this knock of Kohli. It was great to see Kohli among the runs and if he can do this on a consistent basis, then he surely is test match quality.

MS Dhoni: 8/10 - (99 runs; DNB)

The captain promoted himself up the order when he saw that the team was in trouble at 71 for 4 and played a very unlike MSD innings that saw India to safety. Like Kohli he kept down the aggression and grafted hard at the English bowlers. It was unfortunate to see him run out on 99, but it was outstanding that despite batting for 356 minutes, and facing the most deliveries in his test career, he showed no emotion at getting out and took it matter of fact. As a captain, I still thought that perhaps he could have pushed for a win more, but with a dead wicket, I'm not very sure how much exactly he could have done.

Ravindra Jadeja: 4/10 - (12 runs & 2 wickets; DNB & 1 wicket)
An ordinary start to the test career.
Jadeja making his debut thanks to a brilliant run in the domestic Ranji scene had a pretty ordinary test match. He bowled well in the first innings and kept the runs tight. but on a dead pitch where teams were going at 2 runs per over, it wasn't such a big achievement. With the bat, he failed and it was this role that he was picked for in Yuvraj Singh's place. I'm still not convinced over Jadeja's selection, and I'm sure Rahane is probably wondering what wrong he has done not to deserve that cap.

Ravichandran Ashwin: 2.5/10 - (29 runs & 1 wicket; DNB & 2 wickets)
Joked as India's best batsman in the series, Ashwin actually seems to have taken the compliment to heart and forgotten about his bowling. He went into the series as India's premier bowler and now after four tests, people are starting to wonder whether he even deserves a place in the team. As a bowler he had a another disappointing match and India needs wickets from him, if they are to win test matches.

Piyush Chawla: 3.5/10 - (1 run & 4 wickets; DNB)
Chawla coming into the team in Zaheer Khan's place looked good in spells. In the first innings he was particularly good, weaving his magical leg spin and it was a treat to watch him bowl. He seems to have now ironed out the need he had of bowling two googlies every over. However in the second innings he looked lost like the rest of the Indian bowling attack.

Pragyan Ojha: 2/10 - (2 runs; DNB & 1 wicket)
Ojha who started the series on fire with wickets suddenly looked like a completely different bowler with just a wicket from the match. He looked tired and one could almost see the frustration in him during the second innings when the draw become more and more clear. Ojha was the one man India really was banking on and he failed to deliver.

Ishant Sharma: 5/10 - (2 runs & 3 wickets; DNB)
Ishant Sharma was the only Indian bowler who looked to make a difference. He bowled with fire in the first innings and it was great to see him get the ball swinging as he once used to do. He provided India the initial breakthroughs on the first session of the test and set up the match, however he alone wasn't enough. And somehow his inspired performance just went off the charts in the second innings.

Overall team India's average - 3.5/10

So India have lost the series in humiliating fashion and now have plenty to think about. The score of 3.5 is an improvement from 2.5 at Kolkata, but it simply wasn't enough for a win and it not for Kohli and Dhoni this test match could have resulted in another loss.

Check out the mini-session analysis of the match here


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