India vs South Africa 1st Test: Team India report card - Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin star in Vizag win
Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja took nine wickets between them as India outplayed South Africa, winning by 203 runs on the final day of the first Test on Sunday. Set a daunting target of 395, the tourists were bundled out for 191 in the second session in Visakhapatnam, giving India a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Shami returned figures of 5-35 while Jadeja took four wickets to help current leaders India grab 40 points in the World Test Championship.
“These... of conditions are pretty ideal for him (Shami). He knows how to bowl on (these) pitches, gets reverse swing straight into play once he knows there is some help on offer,” said Rohit Sharma, named man of the match for hitting two centuries in the game, which was his first as an opener. “He has mastered that art (of reverse swing) now, bowling with the old ball and getting it to reverse.”
Here is a look at how the Indian team performed:
Rohit Sharma - 10/10, Verdict: Excellent
Talk about making a statement, Rohit Sharma proved his detractors wrong with, for a lack of a better word, “perfect” performance in the first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam. There were several doubts whether the batsman can make it as a Test opener, just like he did in the limited overs cricket. Sharma hit hundreds in both the innings, to shun the doubts. He will hold the position at least for the next couple of series, and maybe even get a stint as an opener in an away series.
Mayank Agarwal - 9/10, Verdict: Excellent
Mayank Agarwal was also marked for success with his impeccable record in the domestic cricket. Returning back to India after a forgettable West Indies series, the opener slammed a double hundred, showcasing why he is one of the best openers in the longest format on Indian surfaces. If he can repeat the same in an away series, he will go a long way.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
Cheteshwar Pujara failed to get runs on the board in the first innings. But being asked to accelerate in the second innings, he turned out to be an ideal partner for Rohit Sharma. Slamming a quickfire 83, which included two sixes, Pujara showed he can execute any role the team demands from him.
Virat Kohli (c) - 6/10, Verdict: Average
Virat Kohli did not return to his best with the bat in the Vizag Test, scoring 20 and 31* in the two innings. But he made some good captaincy decisions, backed his players on DRS reviews, and his timely decision to hand Mohammed Shami the ball on the final day sealed the match in India’s favour. Kohli starting to grow as a captain, learning from his mistakes.
Ajinkya Rahane - 5/10, Verdict: Average
Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed for 15 in the first innings and then made a quickfire 17* in the second innings before Kohli declared the innings. He did not have much to do in the Test.
Hanuma Vihari - 2/10, Verdict: Poor
With the top order scoring runs in heaps, the middle-order Hanuma Vihari did not much have to do. He was dismissed for 10 in the first innings, and did not come out to bat in the second innings.
Wriddhiman Saha (wk) - 5/10, Verdict: Average
Wriddhiman Saha had all eyes on him, with the wicketkeeper replacing Rishabh Pant in the playing XI. His performance in his first outing since return was a mixed bag. He fired quick 21 runs in 16 balls in the first innings. He had a couple of drops, and might need a game or two more to fix his reflexes. But Saha’s call on DRS reviews was accurate on most occasions and this will increase Kohli’s faith in him as the man to be Dhoni’s successor.
Ravindra Jadeja - 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
Ravindra Jadeja is slowly starting to take over Hardik Pandya’s as India’s preferred allrounder. He came out to bat in the first innings, and made an unbeaten 30. In the second innings, he was promoted up to no. 4 and scored 40 in 30 balls. He also picked up four wickets in the second innings, one of which included a tremendous reflex catch. The one over from him in which he picked up three wickets completely ended South Africa’s resistance.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 10/10, Verdict: Excellent
In a match marked with successful returns, R Ashwin was another Indian to have a “perfect” one. He was ignored in the Tests against West Indies. The bowler made a statement picking up seven wickets in the first innings, and then picking another in the second innings to become the joint-quickest bowler to reach 350 Test wickets along with Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ishant Sharma - 3/10, Verdict: Poor
Ishant Sharma returned with just one wicket in two innings. But after a brilliant year, it would do little to hamper his confidence going into the 2nd Test, and will certainly not shake the faith of selectors in him.
Mohammed Shami - 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
Mohammed Shami’s record of producing his best with the ball in the 2nd innings. He, single handedly crushed Proteas’ middle-order. He picked up a fifer to help his side win the Test by 203 runs.
(With inputs from agencies)