The Indian cricket team has struggled overseas losing Test series in England and in Australia, in South Africa and in New Zealand which led to the retirement of MS Dhoni. Since then, Virat Kohli has taken captaincy in 2015 and the fortunes of the Indian team in Test matches has changed completely. The Indian team has played 8 Test matches in the year – winning 5, drawing 2 and losing only 1. During the 8 Test matches, there have been some excellent performances by individual players which led to India’s success.
Here we look at the top 5 performances that turned India’s test fortune in 2015.
1. R Ashwin rich haul of wickets
R Ashwin has become world’s best spinner at the moment. Before the World Cup 2015 started, he was trying all variations but went for too many runs. Since the World Cup, Ashwin has now become India’s main strike bowler. His rise came when he focused on his off spinners. In the one-off Test match against Bangladesh, he picked 5 wickets in the first innings. When India toured Sri Lanka in August- September he looked in great form picking wickets with his off spin. During the Sri Lanka series, he picked 21 wickets in 3 Test matches which helped India to win a test series in Sri Lanka after 22 years. The Indian team then took on South Africa at home and Ashwin played a key role again taking 31 wickets helping India beat the number 1 ranked side in the world 3-0. He has 75 wicket haul in 2015 which is most by any bowler. He is on the verge of finishing as the leading wicket-taker in Test matches for the year.
2. Rahane – Top quality batsman
Rahane has been India’s most consistent batsmen in Test matches. He has scored centuries in tough conditions in England, Australia, and New Zealand, Sri Lanka and two centuries against South Africa. He has a solid technique to survive on pitches which would be helpful for the bowlers. In the year 2015, Rahane has looked in solid touch scoring 98 in a one-off Test match against Bangladesh. His batting position was in serious question when the Indian team toured Sri Lanka. He came at number 5 in the first Test but was promoted to number 3 in the second Test. He showed the class by scoring 126 in the second innings of the second Test. Apart from that, his catching in the slips was also brilliant. In the Test series against South Africa, he did not score too many in the first 3 matches. In the fourth Test match at Delhi when India was struggling at 139 for 6 in the first he came and rescued the innings scoring 127 helped India to get a competitive total of 337. In the second innings too India were struggling at 57 for 4 but Rahane showed his class and scored 100 not out. He became the 4th Indian batsmen to score centuries in both innings. He was the leading runs scorer in the recently concluded India- South Africa test series.
3. Ravindra Jadeja excellent comeback
Ravindra Jadeja was dropped from the Indian test team since the last 1 year. He played his last One-day International in June. He did not play in the one-off Test match against Bangladesh, was not selected for the Sri Lanka test series. Before the South Africa Test series began he played few Ranji Trophy matches where he picked lots of wickets and also scored runs for Saurashtra which raised his confidence. During the Test series against South Africa, he was at his lethal best taking 21 wickets in the series. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled well in tandem creating lots of pressure on the South African batsmen. He made a comeback for the One-day Internationals and T20 squads that will tour Australia from January 12th.
- 4. Pujara batting
Pujara batting this season has looked in good touch. He was dropped from the Indian Test squad in Australia. He was fighting for a position with Rohit Sharma. He was not picked in the 11 in the One off Test match in Bangladesh; in Sri Lanka too he did not play in the first XI during the first two Test matches. In the third test match, when there was no one to open Pujara came and played a match-winning knock of 145 not out which helped India to win the test series in Sri Lanka after 22 years. In the Test series against South Africa, he played crucial knock in the second innings of the first innings of Mohali Test where he scored 77 important runs. After that innings, he did not contribute too much in the next 2 test matches.
5. Vijay’s solidity at the top
Vijay has been solid at the top for India for quite a while. He played in tough conditions in South Africa, England. He has a solid technique and has become one of the best openers in the world at the present moment. In the current season, he scored 150 in One off Test match against Bangladesh. During the Sri Lanka Test series, he did not play the first Test match due to injury while in the second test he scored 0 in the first innings and then 82 in the second innings of the second Test. He did not play the third Test too. Against South Africa at home, he played a crucial knock of 75 and 47 runs in the first Test match at Mohali and then an important 40 in the third Test match at Nagpur which remained the highest score of the match. He has become the pillar of Indian batting of the current Test team.