The Indian team might have lost the three-Test series 2-1, but the fight shown by the team was commendable, especially in the third and final Test.
The Indian team had found itself on the top in all the three Tests, but poor batting let them down, else the scoreline could have been 2-1 in India’s favor. India failed to chase 208 runs in the first Test and a difficult, albeit gettable total of 287 runs in the second Test.
The heroes for the Indian team proved to be their bowlers, all of whom outbowled their South African counterparts. For the first time, India had taken all the 60 wickets available to them in a Test series outside India and it was majorly thanks to Indian fast bowlers.
Therefore keeping in mind, all the performances by all the Indian players who played in the series, we have decided to give them ratings.
Here are the player ratings for the Indian Team:
Shikhar Dhawan - 1/10
Shikhar Dhawan played just one Test and scored a total of 32 runs in both innings. He tried to hit his way out of the entanglement he found himself against some quality fast bowling from Proteas team. However, he tried to hit out, where he should have persisted with patience and perseverance and failed to make an impact in the Test series.
M Vijay - 4/10
Murali Vijay struggled throughout the series trying to hit the ball and score runs, rather than playing to his strength of leaving the ball. He scored 102 runs in 3 Tests with a best of 46 and an average of 17.00. Vijay was constantly getting out to balls outside off stump, which he would have let go if he was in form. The selectors will keep an eye out on his performances from here on as India prepares for a tough to England in June.
KL Rahul - 2/10
KL Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan with high hopes of rebuilding the Indian opening against South Africa. However, he failed miserably, scoring just 30 runs in two Tests and averaging a shameful 7.50. Rahul just couldn’t adjust to the bouncy pitches of Centurion and Johannesburg, against a really skillful, quick bowling attack from South Africa. With him and Vijay failing to provide good starts, India failed to win at Centurion.
Virat Kohli - 9/10
The only saving grace for India with the bat, captain Kohli scored 286 runs, with a best of 153. He scored a fifty also and ended up with an average of 47.66. His innings of 153 in the second Test can be called one of the best innings ever played by an Indian outside India and can be put right beside Rahul Dravid’s effort of 148 on the 1997 tour. His 41 on the treacherous Johannesburg pitch can also be termed as one of the grittiest innings by an Indian batsman in South Africa.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 5/10
Cheteshwar Pujara failed to impress on the tour. He scored 100 runs including a fifty, with an average of 16.66. He also became the first Indian batsman to be dismissed run out in both innings of a Test match. For someone who has an ironclad technique, Pujara seemed to be all over the place when it came to playing fast bowling and this tour might put a question mark on his abilities.
Rohit Sharma - 4/10
Rohit Sharma scored 78 runs in two Tests with a best of 47. However, his failures down the order became the highlight of the tour, as his selection over one of the team’s best batsman overseas, Ajinkya Rahane; put questions over the selection decision by team management. Rohit got the benefit of scoring a century and a fifty in the Sri Lanka Test series at home and his performances in limited overs series.
However, he couldn’t replicate his success against Sri Lanka on the trying and testing pitches of South Africa and India reverted back to Ajinkya Rahane for the final Test.
Wriddhiman Saha - 5/10
Wriddhiman Saha played just one Test in the series and scored 8 runs. Though he created a record of 10 catches behind the stump in the first Test; his batting was found wanting when it was needed him most. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury brought his tour to an early end, before his got chances to redeem himself.
Parthiv Patel - 4/10
Parthiv Patel replaced Saha for the last two Tests and scored 56 runs. He even opened the innings in the final Test and showed some grit. But again, his inexperience of playing in foreign countries was exposed and Patel faltered. His keeping also came under microscope and him missing some crucial catches off both quick bowlers and Ashwin, may have put a halt on his Test career once and for all. His couldn’t keep in the second innings of the last Test, due to a broken finger.
Ajinkya Rahane - 6/10
Ajinkya Rahane found support from every quarter after being unceremoniously dropped from the team for the first two Tests against South Africa. Rohit Sharma was preferred over Rahane, based on current form and when the current form faded away, Kohli turned back to Rahane. He scored a brilliant 48 in the second innings of India in the final Test, adding crucial runs to India’s lead and helping Indian bowlers with a sizeable lead. He also proved that he was much better suited for the foreign tours, than his replacement.
Hardik Pandya - 6/10
Hardik Pandya scored a brilliant 93 in a situation that was out of India’s hand in the first Test. But after that, Pandya’s run making dried up, like the water shortage in Cape Town. After his brilliant innings of 93, he scored a total of 26 runs in the next 4 innings. His bowling was enough to give breaks to the four main bowlers, but he couldn’t make an impact on his own.
R Ashwin - 6/10
R Ashwin scored 90 runs in 2 Tests he played and picked 7 wickets including a best of 4/113. He proved to be a good inclusion in the second Test as he helped wrap up the Proteas innings for cheap. He was supposed to play a big role with the bat too and was even sent to bat above Pandya and Saha, but couldn’t do much against a potent South Africa pace attack.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 10/10
The star of the first and last Test, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s exclusion from the second Test caused a huge uproar. Bhuvneshwar set up India nicely in the first Test, picking up 4 wickets in the first innings of the first Test. He was brilliant with the ball, moving it in the air and off the pitch. He picked 10 wickets in 2 Tests he played, with a best of 4/87. But most importantly, he scored 101 runs in 2 Tests as well with a best of 33. He proved to be a better all-rounder than the original all-rounder in the team and was also adjudged Man of the match in the final Test for his scores of 30 and 27 and for picking 4 wickets.
Mohammed Shami - 8/10
Mohammed Shami has established himself to the best Indian bowler when it comes to bowling in the second innings. Shami picked 15 wickets in 3 Tests with a best of 5/28 to win the 3rd Test for India. Shami looked toothless in the first innings of every Test match, but came to life when it came to second innings. He will be an important figure for India on the tour to England and Australia, given he is fit and raring to go.
Ishant Sharma - 7/10
Ishant Sharma replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second Test amidst much criticism, but he did well to keep his place in the team for the third Test. He picked 8 wickets in the two Tests he played and supported Shami and Bhuvneshwar well enough.
Jasprit Bumrah - 9/10
Jasprit Bumrah was a surprise on this tour. Making his Test debut in the first Test, Bumrah went on from strength to strength and showed that he could hold his own in the longest format of the game as well. He picked 14 wickets in his first three Tests including a five wicket haul (5/54) and impressed everyone with his pace and ability to bowl long spells, despite that action of his.