India’s much-talked about bowling unit comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin failed to bowl South Africa out in the fourth innings for the second time in a row as the hosts won the third Test to clinch the three-match series 2-1. Coming from a 113-run defeat in the first Test, South Africa showcased lion-hearted performances in the second and third Test, especially while chasing in the fourth innings to win the series, which was described by their former wicketkeeper-batter and current head coach Mark Boucher as among the top five performances in the history of South African cricket.
The series saw many top-notch performances from both the sides but here, we will concentrate on how the Indian cricketers fared in these Tests.
Mayank Agarwal, 4 Below Average
The tour did not end in the way it started for Mayank Agarwal. The right-hander started the series with a solid fifty in India’s first innings in Centurion but since then it went downhill for Karnataka batter. Mayank got starts in both innings of the second Test but failed to convert it into something substantial and he was all at sea in the decider in Cape Town.
KL Rahul, 7 Good
Apart from the third and final Test, KL Rahul contributed with the bat in pretty much every Test of the series. The right-hander emerged as India’s highest run-getter in the series with 226 runs that included a match-winning hundred in the first Test in Centurion. He also got to lead India for the first time in Virat Kohli’s absence in the second Test match.
Cheteshwar Pujara, 2 Very poor
A fifty in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test is all Cheteshwar Pujara had in his kitty in the series. The experienced right-hander was one of the major disappointments of the series for India. He scored only 124 runs at an average 20 in the three Tests and his spot in the XI might be in danger the next time India take the field.
Virat Kohli, 5 Average
The India Test captain did his best in the series-deciding Test in Cape Town scoring a superb 79 in the first innings and a patient 29 in the second innings but it was not enough to take India over the line. The way he got out chasing deliveries way outside the off stump throughout the series, would be a worrying factor.
Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Very poor
Another veteran cricketer who could lose his spot in the Indian XI after yet another disappointing series with the bat. Rahane only scored 136 runs at an average of 22.66. The right-hander’s inability to cope with the pace and bounce on the South African tracks was there for everyone to see. With players like Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer waiting in the wings, it looks really difficult for Rahane to hold onto his spot in the side.
Hanuma Vihari, 6 Above Average
He got to play in the second Test in place of the injured Virat Kohli and did no harm to his reputation. The right-hander played a gritty knock with the lower order in India’s second innings in Johannesburg. He could be in line to replace Rahane in the middle-order for India’s next series.
Rishabh Pant, 7 Good
The India wicketkeeper-batter drew a lot of criticism for the shot he played to get out in India’s second innings in Johannesburg but the innings he played in Cape Town showed exactly why he can be excused once in a while. Pant scored a scintillating hundred becoming the first designated Asian wicketkeeper to score a Test hundred in South Africa. His keeping was also one of the highlights of the series.
Ravichandran Ashwin, 4, Below Average
It won’t be an exaggeration to state that the experienced off-spinner left the door open for Ravindra Jadeja to come back from an injury and take the spot as India’s overseas spinner. The pitches were not at all conducive for spin-bowling but Ashwin will be disappointed for not making any sort of impact with the ball. With the bat, however, he played a couple of useful knocks.
Shardul Thakur, 7, Good
12 wickets in 3 Tests at an average of 19, Shardul Thakur was pretty good with the ball in the series. He also registered the best figures by an Indian against South Africa in Tests when he picked 7 for 61 in Johannesburg.
Mohammed Shami, 8 Very Good
He looked like getting a wicket every ball and that showed in his stats. With 14 wickets, Shami was India’s most successful bowler in the series. He also reached the milestone of 200 Test wickets in the series.
Jasprit Bumrah, 7 Good
Whenever Bumrah had the ball in his hand, there was anticipation and hope among Indian fans. The ace bowler provided the goods more often than not. He finished with 12 wickets in the series but he would be disappointed not to have struck in the second innings of the Johannesburg and Cape Town Tests.
Mohammed Siraj, 3 Poor
Much was expected from the energetic Mohammed Siraj but he was not up to the mark in the first Test. Before he could think of making things right in the second, a hamstring injury cut his tour short. He finished with only 4 wickets in two Tests.
Umesh Yadav, 5, Average
A few eyebrows were raised when Umesh Yadav was preferred over Ishant Sharma for the deicer in Cape Town but he did try his level best to leave impact. The right-arm seamer picked up four wickets in the only Test he played in the series.
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