India vs England: Hosts’ Player Ratings

The First Test between India and England was a thrilling affair, which eventually ended in a tense draw. England dominated the Test, with their first innings score of 537 dictating the match. On an admittedly flat pitch, England had three centurions and India’s bowlers seemed weak and tame. This was also true in the second innings as England hit a quick 260 to stretch their lead. India’s batting looked solid but at times nervy and weak. This article rates each of the Indian players.

Murali Vijay – 8/10

A great performance from the Indian opener as he scored his sixth Test century. Vijay’s innings was crucial in anchoring India’s response to England’s dominant first innings total. His partnership with Pujara ultimately saved India from having to concede a large first innings lead. He looked comfortable at the crease on the whole, with his only flaw being a slight inability to pick Adil Rashid‘s variations.

However, Vijay struck the perfect balance between in the way he played his shots. At the start of his innings, Vijay was extremely defensive and scored slowly but then eased up and started playing his shots. It was a perfectly paced innings, but he failed to capitalise on his great start after he fell at the end of the third day. In the second innings he played a key role in holding India together, surviving 71 balls in tough conditions. It was a determined performance from him and he’ll look to keep it up heading into the Second Test.

Gautam Gambhir – 3/10

India veteran Gautam Gambhir failed to make any substantial impact on the game. In the first innings, his new technique seemed to benefit him greatly as he successfully batted out the end of the second day. Yet, the following morning he was dismissed with Stuart Broad‘s first ball and was unable to continue his fine form. A duck in the second innings equally disappointing. Gambhir gloved a good-length Chris Woakes delivery to second slip after just six balls. This made the match much more tense and placed a huge amount of pressure on the middle order. With major injuries to several other Indian openers, India will be forced to stick with him for the Second Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara – 8/10

One of six centurions in the match, Pujara pleased his home fans by delivering a magnificent hundred. He played a truly classy innings as he shared in a huge 209 partnership with Murali Vijay. Woakes hit Pujara three times on his helmet early on in his innings, but India’s number three was not phased by this at all. He battled through it to cash in on the batting-friendly conditions. Unfortunately, in the second innings, Pujara failed to use the DRS system when he should have. The Rashid delivery which got him out pitched outside leg, but Pujara decided not to review it and received no guidance from Murali Vijay. This shows India’s inexperience with the DRS system and is something they need to be wary of.

Virat Kohli (C) – 6/10

An solid performance from the Indian captain. His work with the bat was on the whole very good. Unfortunately, he was out in the first innings in an unusual manner. As Kohli stepped back to pull Rashid, he ended up treading on his stumps. This was extremely disappointing as he was looking set at that time on 40. As a result, he was unable to make the most of his start and the conditions. Kohli battled hard extremely hard in the second innings under immense pressure and produced a gritty unbeaten innings of 49. He clearly thrived under the pressure and played the situation with ease, showing his true talent.

On the whole, his captaincy was decent. There were a few questionable moments, with the team composition being one such area. Perhaps India were better off playing three seamers instead of the extra spinner. Nevertheless, he rotated his bowlers well and was relatively aggressive in his attitude.

Ajinkya Rahane – 2/10

A poor performance from Rahane. It started on the morning of Day 1 when he dropped England captain Alastair Cook in the first over. From then, Rahane’s confidence fell and it showed in his batting. He only managed a poor 13 runs in the first innings and then was dismissed for one in the second. Most disappointing was the manner of his dismissal in the second innings. When India were already three down, needing to survive, Rahane was bowled stepping back to cut the ball. Moeen Ali pitched the ball well outside off and it turned in sharply, but Rahane had backed away to outside leg in order to make room. It clipped his pad and hit the stumps. It was a poor shot and an unnecessary dismissal. While it may have just been a momentary lapse in concentration, it is essential that he finds form soon.

Ravichandran Ashwin – 6/10

Ashwin had a very mixed match. His bowling was not up to the standards that we are used to seeing him reach. He only picked up three wickets, with the pitch providing some assistance to the spinners. He leaked runs in the first innings, conceding a huge 167 runs but was more economical in the second. We can be sure that the next pitches will assist the spinners more, so it is likely Ashwin will be more threatening with the ball next Test.

Ashwin’s real impact came with the bat. He contributed a vital lower order 70 that drastically helped reduce India’s deficit. When he arrived at the crease, India still trailed by well over 100. However, Ashwin helped to pick off the runs well and eventually brought the lead to around 50 before he finally holed out to deep mid-wicket. He also provided some stubborn assistance in the second innings, chipping in with a handy 32.

Wriddhiman Saha – 5/10

Not the best performance from India’s keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Scores of 32 and 9 shows that he didn’t make a huge impact with the bat, but made a start. His glovework was below par as he was responsible for a couple of drops. However, it is never easy to keep in the subcontinent and some of the chances were difficult.

Ravindra Jadeja – 6/10

Jadeja was arguably India’s best bowler in the first innings. While there was no real assistance for the bowlers early on in the Test, Jadeja managed to pick up three wickets. Equally important was the way in which he was extremely economical, going at under three an over. This was vital in building pressure on the English batsmen. He went wicketless in the second innings, but was unlucky with some chances not going his way.

His batting in the second innings was impressive as well. Jadeja is known for his aggression and even under immense pressure he played his shots. He scored his 32 at nearly a run a ball and hit several boundaries in the process. This was key in ensuring that India safely navigated their way to a draw and he greatly assisted his captain.

Amit Mishra – 3/10

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra had a very poor Test. He was hardly successful with the ball and was extremely expensive when he did pick up wickets. In the second innings he went at nearly 4.5 an over, which showed how the England batsmen felt comfortable playing him. Mishra also failed in his duties as a nightwatchman. Sent in to block out the last few overs the third day, Mishra fell to a catch by Haseeb Hameed at short leg. This was a key wicket, as it meant the momentum was with England heading into the start of the fourth day.

Mohammed Shami – 7/10

Shami played very well in this Test, although his statistics don’t entirely show it. In both innings, he was extremely accurate and economical. He offered no easy runs for the batsmen on a relatively flat pitch. He picked up two big wickets in the first innings and bowled really well with the new ball. Alastair Cook was dropped off his bowling early on, as Shami had him playing and missing regularly. In these tough conditions, Shami did well to maintain pressure and managed to force some swing early on. It is likely that he will continue to lead the Indian seam attack, even with Ishant Sharma fit again.

Umesh Yadav – 3/10

Yadav made very little impact on the Test. Admittedly the conditions were tough for a fast bowler of his nature, but he was very expensive. Having conceded over 100 runs in the first innings, Yadav went wicketless in the second. It was a poor performance on his behalf as he struggled to find a consistent rhythm and it is likely that he may be replaced in the Second Test.