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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Report Card: How India fared in 2019 in Tests

In a year that featured the World Cup, the Indian team led by Virat Kohli played a total of eight Test matches, five at home and three away. India won seven of the Tests and drew one.

Written by Rahul Sadhu | Kolkata | Updated: November 25, 2019 10:18:02 pm
India played eight Test matches this year, winning seven on the trot and drawing one. (Source: PTI Photo)

India has enjoyed a dominant 2019 Test season that began in Sydney in January and ended Sunday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. In a year that featured the ODI World Cup, the Indian team led by Virat Kohli played a total of 8 Test matches, five at home and three away. India won seven of the Tests and drew one.

It’s also the reason that after three series, India sits comfortably on top of the World Test Championship table with 360 points.

Here’s a report card of the team has done: 

Team India in various moods during the Kolkata Test. (Twitter/Virat Kohli)

BATTING

In the beginning of the year, there was uncertainty over who should be at the top of the batting order. By the end of the year, it seems that Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma have cemented their position as the team’s openers.

The middle-order comprising of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have also delivered the goods.

Topping the charts in batting is Mayank Agarwal with 754 runs in 8 matches. The right-handed opening batsman scored those runs at an average of 68.54, with a highest score of 243. This includes three 100s and two 50s.

Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is second on the list with 642 runs in 8 matches at an average of 71.33. This includes two 100s and five 50s.

Skipper Virat Kohli comes in next with 612 runs in 8 matches at an average of 68, and a high score of 254 not out. This includes two 100s, two 50s, and two ducks as well.

Rohit Sharma repaid the team management’s faith with amassed 556 runs in 5 matches at a remarkable average of 92.66 and a strike rate of 75.95. The Mumbaikar also hit the most number of sixes (20) among all the Indian batsmen. His opening partner, Agarwal, is next with 18.

India’s number three, Cheteshwar Pujara had a moderate year with 507 runs in 8 matches at an average of 46.09, and high score of 193. He scored only one century, after failing to convert four of his fifties into three-figures.

Interestingly, Ravindra Jadeja, who has been promoted up the order ahead of R Ashwin, scored 440 runs in 8 matches at an average of 62.85.

India’s top five run-getters at home:

Name Runs Matches Average 200s 100s 50s
Mayank Agarwal 597 5 99.50 2 3
Rohit Sharma 556 5 92.66 1 3
Virat Kohli 453 5 113.25 1 2
Ajinkya Rahane 353 5 70.60 1 3
Cheteshwar Pujara 254 5 42.33 4
Ravindra Jadeja 284 5 71.00 3

BOWLING

Mohammed Shami is India’s leading wicket-taker in 2019 with 33 scalps in 8 matches, at an average of 16.66 and a strike rate of 35.3. It also includes one five-wicket haul. Shami is the only Indian pacer who took part in all of India’s eight home Tests this year- a clear indicator about his improved fitness. He bowled a total of 194.2 overs this year, at an economy rate of 2.83.

Ishant Sharma, who played six matches this year, took 25 wickets at an average of 15.56 and a strike rate of 32.5. Sharma bagged two five-wicket hauls. He bowled 135.4 overs this year at an economy rate of 2.86.

Umesh Yadav is third, but has been the most impressive with 23 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 13.65 and a strike rate of 23.1, including one five-wicket haul. Yadav bowled 88.4 overs in the four Tests he played at a slightly higher economy rate of 3.54.

Surprisingly, spinners have not had much of an impact, and it’s been one of those rare years where India’s pacers managed to outclass its spinners, and that too at home. In fact, in the Day-Night Test against Bangladesh, pacers scalped took all 19 wickets. One Bangladesh batsman was retired hurt.

Ravindra Jadeja is fourth on the list with 21 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 34.52 and a strike rate of 73.0. However, he did bowl the most number of overs – 255 of them at an economy rate of 2.83.

R Ashwin played five matches this year as he was benched for the overseas tours. However, he did pick up 20 wickets in those five matches at an average of 24.15 and a strike rate of 52.0. In those five matches, he bowled 173.2 overs at an economy rate of 2.78.

India’s highest wicket-takers at home:

Name Tests Wickets Average
Umesh Yadav 4 23 13.65
Mohd.Shami 5 22 14.90
R Ashwin 5 20 24.15
Ishant Sharma 4 14 18.14
R Jadeja 5 13 36.07

FIELDING

India’s fielding has been patchy at best with catching in the slips still a worry. In this home season, India failed to take 14 chances. Half of them were regulation chances.

In the Test match at Indore against Bangladesh, India put down five clear chances. Ajinkya Rahane was involved in three of those, while Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were involved in the other two. Rahane also missed a catch in Kolkata.

In overseas tours, these mistakes could cost the team dearly and coach R Sridhar will need to chalk out a plan soon to iron them out.

India’s next Test series is in New Zealand in February 2020.

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