Murali Vijay (357 runs at 45)
After England opened the series with 537, he made 124 in over 8 hours, a crucial ship-steadying innings. Looked in good nick throughout, but cashed in only once more, in Mumbai. His tactic of attacking the first ball of a spinner’s over worked well, his straight sixes particularly sweetly hit.
Gautam Gambhir (29 runs at 15)
Already feels like part of a past generation of Indian batsman – a fine servant whose time has almost certainly gone.
KL Rahul (233 runs at 58)
In and out of the XI with injury, but once he found his feet at Chennai, he produced one of the daddy hundreds that proved the difference between the sides. Desperately disappointed to miss out on a double century after a nervous loss of concentration, but it was the 199 runs scored that mattered, rather than the one that got away.
Parthiv Patel (195 runs at 65; 11 catches 2 stumpings)
Back in the team after a long absence, he seized his chance well, batting with fluency especially at the top of the order against the seamers. His glovework was scrappy at times (what keeper is world cricket isn’t these days?) but it was adequate for what was required. Very much lived up to his captain’s desire for every player to put the team first by opening in Chennai in place of the injured Vijay immediately after keeping for 157 overs. With his place on the line, that’s an impressive show of attitude and confidence.
Cheteshwar Pujara (401 runs at 50)
A more aggressive batsmen this time round than in previous showings against England, centuries in the first two Tests proved the value of his orthodox defensive technique now allied to more ambitious strokeplay. After a period out of the side and with young guns establishing their credentials, Pujara 2.0 has turned up at exactly the right time to lock down the Number Three slot for the foreseeable future.
Virat Kohli (655 runs at 109)
Compelling in every element of his game, he made big runs with the bat (the ball pummelling a tattoo on the middle of his bat throughout the series) and captained his side with tremendous energy and skill. Started the series by standing on his own stumps, but didn’t put a foot wrong thereafter until he failed in Chennai, only to watch, almost paternalistically, the new generation of Indian batsman win their spurs. He really, really wanted to win this match-up and wasn’t afraid to show it – and that matters, not just for Indian Test cricket, but for Test cricket as a whole. (I wrote more about the Young King Kohli here).
Karun Nair (320 runs at 160; 1-0-4-0 average n/a, economy 4.0)
Wise judges told me that when the 25 year old from Karnataka gets a start, he’s likely to go big. In Chennai, that forecast proved to be true in a record shattering 303* in which he showed that he could graft early on, build an innings and then flog tiring bowlers all round the ground. We will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.
Ajinkya Rahane (63 runs at 13)
Looked out of sorts, especially when cleaned up by Adil Rashid’s googly like, well, like an Englishman. Injured, he ceded the vice-captaincy to R. Ashwin, an unstoppable force at home, and will be looking over his shoulder at the men now in possession. He will be back, but the decision on whom to drop and when, is hardly an easy one for selectors with an embarrassment of riches.
Ravichandran Ashwin (306 runs at 44; 307.1-45-847-28 average 30.3, economy 2.8)
Eyed England’s left-handers like a cat with a cornered mouse, knowing they were his, only the time of their demise to be decided. Bowled a tight wicket-to-wicket line to the right-handers too, the subtle changes of flight, spin and speed placing him in the company of India’s legendary tweakers of any age. His carrom ball to trap Jonny Bairstow LBW in Mumbai was a thing of beauty, poor Jonny missing the delivery by feet rather than inches. Batted with the lazy elegance that prompts memories of VVS Laxman scoring vital runs in India’s powerhouse late middle order. And he still wasn’t Man of the Series!
Wriddhiman Saha (49 runs at 12; 6 catches)
All at sea with bat in hand and not much better with the gloves, he lost his place to the recalled Parthiv Patel who immediately improved India’s batting and fielding units.
Ravindra Jadeja (224 runs at 37; 290.1-67-672-26 average 25.8, economy 2.3)
The man who makes things happen – a component all sides aspiring to greatness need. With ball in hand, he hustles through his overs, some balls spinning, some balls sliding, seldom giving much to hit. In the field, he bristles under his beard, a brilliant catcher and ground fielder, setting standards for a team that needs them. Walked to the wicket to replace his captain with his team still 79 runs behind in Mohali and biffed a momentum shifting 90, before holing out going for the quick runs the match situation demanded. Not the most skilful bowler nor the most technically correct batsman, but he is the most watchable cricketer in the side – possibly in the world.
Jayant Yadav (221 runs at 74; 81.3-17-266-9 average 29.6, economy 3.3)
What on earth is he doing at Number Nine? Brought in to keep it tight as a support spinner, he delivered that job description to the letter and then batted like a dream to demoralise England’s bowling with an array of orthodox strokes and splendid concentration, even when discomfited by the short ball. He might need an injury or two in order to be selected overseas, but what a player to have as back-up to the spin twins ahead of him.
Amit Mishra (0 runs at 0; 75.5-12-275-5 average 55.0, economy 3.6)
Rather like his opposite number, Rashid, he bowled too many release balls and too few jaffas when given his opportunities. In an age when bowlers look to apply a tourniquet of dot balls to strangle the scoring rate, his old-fashioned tossing it up above the eye line, looks a little out of place.
Mohammed Shami (35 runs at 35; 103-22-252-10 average 25.2, economy 2.4)
Flogging 10 wickets from three Tests on those pitches is an admirable return from a bowler who was quick and accurate, particularly with a short ball that was directed under the chin and seldom wasted in an unnecessary show of macho bravado. England’s senior seamers may have over 800 Test wickets between them, but Shami was the pick of the pacers.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (9 runs at 9; 17-1-60-1 average 60.0, economy 3.5)
Back in the side to pitch it up and swing it, he extracted more movement than any other bowler and will look forward to touring England in the future where his method has found success in the past.
Umesh Yadav (38 runs at 10; 143.5-23-464-8 average 58.0, economy 3.2)
A big hearted trier who bent his back all day long for his captain and whose figures do not reflect his contribution at all. That value was is better found in the fact that he bowled 37 more overs then any seamer on either side and he deserved to celebrate the series win as much as anyone.
Ishant Sharma (DNB; 31-8-59-3 average 19.7, economy 1.9)
Always nice to roll up for the final Test of a series already secured, but the tall paceman justified his place with some accurate hit-the-deck bowling against a batting line-up who knew they were beaten. Incredibly, he’s still only 28!