India vs Australia: Team India series report card – Dhoni, bowlers star in historic victory | cricket

India recorded a stunning comeback series win after beating Australia in the third and final ODI of the series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday. Courtesy of this seven-wicket win, India clinched their first-ever bilateral ODI series victory Down Under.

It was an all-round performance from the visitors which saw players standing up and being counted whenever the team needed to be bailed out of trouble. Who were the architects of this win, let’s find out in Hindustan Times’ Report Card.

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Shikhar Dhawan – Rating: 3/10, Verdict: Poor

Opener Shikhar Dhawan had a rather underwhelming show in the three-match series Down Under. He was dismissed for a duck in the opening match and while he got starts in the second and third matches respectively, he couldn’t go on to convert it into a big one. Dhawan’s highest score was 32 and he was clearly the weak link for India at the top in the series.

Rohit Sharma – Rating: 7/10, Verdict: Good

Opener Rohit Sharma had couple of good outings and one single digit score in the series. The right-hander slammed a blazing ton (133) in the opener but couldn’t take India over the line. This was the fourth instance when Rohit had scored a century in Australia but India ended up being on the losing side. Rohit then continued his good scoring run and hit a well-made 43 in the second ODI to give India a good start in the chase.

Virat Kohli – Rating: 7/10, Verdict: Good

Skipper Virat Kohli was once again among the runs and played a pivotal role in helping India clinch the series. After failing with the bat in the opener, Kohli hit a scintillating ton in the second to power India to a six-wicket win. Kohli then got a start in the third match as well but his problems against Jhye Richardson continued and was removed by him for the third time in a row. In the field, Kohli marshalled his troops well and led from the front in this historic series win.

Ambati Rayudu – Rating: 2/10, Verdict: Poor

Middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu enjoys the backing of the team management at the crucial number four spot but didn’t do justice to it in the recently-concluded series. Rayudu was out for a duck in the first match and then could muster just 24 in the second, where he was dismissed after playing a rash shot at a crucial juncture in the chase. He was subsequently left out of the third ODI.

MS Dhoni – Rating: 9/10, Verdict: Very Good

Wicket-keeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni was India’s stand-out performer and was deservedly named the man of the series for his exploits. Dhoni slammed three half centuries in as many matches and played an important part in the series victory. The Indian stalwart bailed India out of trouble in all three matches after the fall of early wickets and while he couldn’t take the team over the line in the opener, he did so with great confidence in the last two matches. Behind the stumps, Dhoni had mixed outing as one hand he was lightening quick with the stumpings, he dropped couple of half-chances in the last ODI.

Dinesh Karthik – Rating: 5/10, Verdict: Average

Middle-order batsman Dinesh Karthik had a very topsy-turvy series. In Sydney, he could must just 12 runs in India’s defeat but came back strongly and stitched a match-winning stand with Dhoni in Adelaide. Karthik didn’t get a chance to bat in the final ODI but his presence in the middle-order certainly acts as a calming presence.

Kedar Jadhav – Rating: 8/10, Verdict: Very Good

Middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav played one of most important knocks of his life at the iconic MCG. Jadhav scored an unbeaten 61 and put on a match-winning stand with Dhoni to take India past the finishing line. This was Jadhav’s first match for the ‘Men in Blue’ after Thiruvanthapuram ODI against Windies in November last year, but the way he played, it didn’t seem like he was out of the team at all.

Ravindra Jadeja – Rating: 5/10, Verdict: Average

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was a last-minute inclusion in the side and he didn’t disappoint, with the ball at least. Jadeja was economical in the first two matches as he gave away 48 and 49 runs respectively and did a good job of keeping the batsmen under check in the middle-overs. Jadeja also scalped one wicket each in the Sydney and Adelaide respectively but went wicketless in Melbourne. The southpaw got a chance to bat in only the first match and he could contribute just 8 runs in India’s defeat.

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Kuldeep Yadav – Rating: 5/10, Verdict: Average

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav didn’t have the best of series according to his own supremely high standards. Kuldeep scalped two wickets in the opening ODIs but went wicket-less in the next. His economy rate too was uncharacteristically very high as he conceded 54 runs in Sydney and 66 in Adelaide. Kuldeep didn’t find a place in the playing XI in the final match of the series.

Yuzvendra Chahal – Rating: 9/10, Verdict: Very Good

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal once again illustrated his importance in white-ball cricket as he scalped a six-wicket haul to play a starring role in the victory in Melbourne. Chahal broke multiple records en route his career best figures of 6/42. Chahal sat out in the first two ODI but left a last impression when he took to the field in the last match of the series.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – Rating: 9/10, Verdict: Very Good

Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar once again illustrated his importance to the side in white-ball cricket. Bhuvneshwar finished the series as the highest wicket-taker with eight wickets —2/69 (Sydney), 4/45 (Adelaide) and 2/28 (Melbourne). Bhuvneshwar scored an unbeaten 29 in a losing cause in the first ODI to show yet again that he can be trusted with the blade as well. Even in the field, Bhuvneshwar was at his supreme best as he took a stunning catch to dismiss Glenn Maxwell at the MCG.

Mohammed Shami – Rating: 8/10, Verdict: Very Good

Fast-bowler Mohammed Shami too had a good series and shared the new ball with Bhuvneshwar with great aplomb. Shami was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the series with five to his name. Barring the first ODI where he went wicketless, he was at the top of his name in the next two matches. Shami’s economy rate was just under six and that bodes well for the team in the long run.

Mohammed Siraj – Rating: 1/10, Verdict: Very Poor

Young fast-bowler Mohammed Siraj had a nightmare of an ODI debut in the second ODI against Australia in Adelaide. He conceded the second most number of runs by an Indian bowler in his first-ever outing in the 50-over format. Siraj returned with figures of 0/76 from his 10 overs and also set the record for the worst economy rate by an Indian bowler on ODI debut.

Also Read: No one is more committed to Indian cricket than MS Dhoni – Virat Kohli

Khaleel Ahmed – Rating: 1/10, Verdict: Very Poor

Like Siraj, Khaleel Ahmed too featured in just one match in the series and it didn’t go as per plan for him. Khaleel was taken for plenty in Sydney and couldn’t pick even a single wicket. The young fast-bowlers is just seven-matches old in ODI cricket and this was easily one of his worse performances for the ‘Blue Brigade’.

Vijay Shankar – Rating: 4/10, Verdict: Average

All-rounder Vijay Shankar made his ODI debut at the iconic MCG but he didn’t get a chance to show his talent on the biggest stage. Shankar was given six overs to bowl and he impressed early on in the innings and returned with figures of 0/23. Shankar didn’t get a chance to bat as the job was done by the top-order.

First Published: Jan 19, 2019 13:18 IST