Team India booked their berth in the World Test Championship final after an emphatic 2-1 series victory over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Rohit Sharma’s men were at their absolute best in the first two Tests of the series with the visitors falling short of expectations. The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja weaved their magic once again in the tournament, taking 47 wickets together to effectively contain Australia’s talented batting lineup.
Australia fought back bravely in the third Test under the leadership of Steve Smith with Nathan Lyon picking up eight wickets to bring the visitors back into the game.
But the flat deck of Ahmedabad meant that the visitors could not level the series, with India retaining the trophy. Both sides will clash once again this summer in the World Test Championship final to be held at The Oval in England.
As India prepare to tackle Australia in One-Day Internationals in preparation for the ODI World Cup 2023, let’s take a look at the top performers from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja
Over the past decade, India’s domination in Test cricket has been built on the strength of their bowling attack. With Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav, India managed to defeat Australia on Australian soil for two tours in a row – making the Men in Blue one of the most feared teams in the game.
Back home, India’s near-perfect record has been scripted by the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – two all-rounders who have been central to the team’s plans on spin-friendly tracks.
The off-spin and left-arm spin of Ashwin and Jadeja complement each other, unsettling any batsman present at the crease if the pitch offers the right amount of support. Ravichandran Ashwin has been the trump card for Rohit Sharma during the series, taking 25 wickets in the tournament at an average of 17.28. Ravindra Jadeja was not far behind, claiming 22 scalps at an average of 18.86.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s best bowling figures came in the final Test of the series, picking up six wickets in the first innings. Ravindra Jadeja was the Player of the Match in the second Test, picking up seven wickets to tear through Australia’s batting lineup.
In appreciation of their joint effort towards India’s victory in the series, the duo have been awarded the Player of the Tournament award together.
While a lot was expected out of Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy ahead of the series, it was veteran spinner Nathan Lyon who ultimately came through with the ball for the visitors.
Doing most of the heavy lifting on surfaces where Australia’s skipper Pat Cummins struggled, Nathan Lyon bowled 190 overs – the overs in the series. He picked 22 wickets across four Tests at an average of 22.36, registering two five-fers.
Nathan Lyon was the Player of the Match in the third Test of the series in Indore, posting bowling figures of 3/35 and 8/64 in the fixture. His effective bowling ensured that India were bowled out for 109 & 163 in the match, giving Australia a consolation victory in the tournament.
With his terrific bowling on Indian grounds, Nathan Lyon has become the leading overseas wicket-taker in the country, with 55 scalps in 11 matches.
Virat Kohli ended his three-year wait for a century in the longest format of the game, scoring 186 runs in the fourth Test of the series last week.
Despite scoring hundreds in both T20 and ODI formats over the last few months, Virat Kohli’s slump in form in Tests was the main concern for his fans, especially as the former Indian captain led India’s rise in stature in the format over the last few years.
Virat Kohli failed to spark in the first Test, losing his wicket cheaply to Todd Murphy. While he looked comfortable at the crease in the second Test, he could not finish scoring a half-century in the first innings.
Even in the third Test, Virat Kohli was the most comfortable Indian batsman at the crease but had to fall to the relentless attack of Todd Murphy once more. It was in the fourth Test that Virat Kohli looked at his best, taking his time to settle into the game.
With Australia effectively batting India out of the game, Virat Kohli took a focused approach to India’s innings with the intention of taking it as deep as possible into Day 5. He took 364 balls to score 186 runs, smashing just 15 boundaries in his innings.
This is Virat Kohli’s 28th century in Test cricket and his 75th century in international cricket. With his return to form, India will now expect Virat Kohli to perform well in England and win the World Test Championship.
Australia’s opener Usman Khawaja was the only batsman to cross the three-digit mark for the visitors in the series.
This is the first hundred for the Australian veteran on Indian soil and his 14th hundred in the longest format of the game. He failed to settle at the crease like the rest of the Australian batting lineup in the first Test, walking back within minutes of entering the crease in both innings.
The 36-year-old showed sparks of potential during the second and third Tests, scoring 60 & 81 runs in the first innings of the Delhi and Indore Tests. But Usman Khawaja was at his best in the final Test, scoring 180 runs in 422 balls.
He finished the series as its top run-scorer, accumulating 333 runs in seven innings at an average of 47.57.
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