Steve Smith, Joe Root and Trent Boult: The men who challenged India in their own den

first_imgTeam India under Virat Kohli conquered everything that has been thrown at them. From starting at No.7 in Tests in Australia back in 2014 to No.1 two-and-a-half years later, is not an easy feat and India have done that with great swagger. They are now the only team other than Australia and South Africa to have won their last Test series against every other opposition.India started their home season by whitewashing New Zealand 3-0, followed by a 4-0 hammering of England in the five-match series. They continued the good work in the one-off Test against Bangladesh as they beat the young and hungry Tigers by 208 runs, which was followed by the recently concluded thrilling four-match series against Australia, which India won 2-1 to end the season on a high.However, even in this run of domination, a few visitors stood up and provided stern resistance to the home side with both bat and ball.Here are the top five overseas batsmen in the 13-match long Test season:STEVE SMITHThe Australia captain finished the four-match series with 499 runs from eight innings at an average of 71.28. He lead from the front right from the word go. He scored a fighting 109 in Pune as Australia won the Test by 333 runs to take a 1-0 lead. Although he didn’t have much of a say in Bengaluru, a match Australia lost by 75 runs, Smith came back strong to hammer another big hundred, scoring 178 not out in Ranchi under tremendous pressure which came towards him from all corners after the DRS row.advertisementThe 27-year-old came to Dharamsala being a man on a mission to lead his team to victory and that resulted in another captain’s knock as he scored 111 in the first innings, his third century of the series.The New South Wales batsman was not only the star batsman for the visitors but he also finished as the highest run-getter of the series and 94 runs more than the second placed Cheteshwar Pujara, who has 405.JOE ROOTJoe Root has been the backbone of the England batting for quite some time now. He continued from where he left off in India five years back. He scored 73 in his debut Test back in Nagpur in 2012 and only consolidated his position as one of the best players of spin in these conditions.The newly appointed England captain finished the five-match series with 491 runs from 10 innings, which included one century and four fifties.Reuters PhotoThe 26-year-old n held the key for England before the Three Lions stepped a foot in the country and he did not disappoint in an otherwise very disappointing series for the Englishmen. He started the series with a 124 in Rajkot and followed on from there. He has a fifty plus score in each of the five matches showing complete consistency and why he has always been the most dependable batsmen in the recent past.MOEEN ALIThe England all-rounder became a thorn for the Indians with the bat. Although he was seen more of a player, who can hurt with his bowling, Moeen’s batting impressed everybody in the five-match series.Moeen finished with 381 runs from nine innings with a best of 146 in the last Test in Chennai. He started off the series with a 117 in Rajkot and kept being a headache for the hosts till the last Test. He scored two tons and one half century at an average of 42.33.He provided great resistance along with Ben Stokes in the middle-order and more than made up for just taking 10 wickets in the series with the willow.ALASTAIR COOKThe former England captain finished the series with 369 runs and the fifth highest run-getter of the series.Cook scored just one century and one half-century throughout the series with an average of 43.92 but he kept providing England with good starts with different opening partners through the cource of the series.He started the series off with a 130 in the second innings in Rajkot, allowing the visitors to draw the Test before they went on a losing spree.Reuters PhotoThe 32-year-old was heavily criticised for the series defeat in India and he also quit but his performances with the bat was something that allowed England to at least provide some resistance in an otherwise very disappointing series.JONNY BAIRSTOWJonny Bairstow had a tremendous season coming onto the five-match series. He finished as the second highest run-scorer with 1470 runs in 2016 and that was also the highest run scored by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year.The wicketkeeper batsman carried on the good work and played some gritty innings in the middle-order for England.advertisementThe Yorkshire keeper scored 352 runs from nine innings at an average of 44.00, which included three fifties. His best was 89 in the third Test in Mohali, which was an innings of great character and maturity.While the batsmen had a better time overall in terms of performances, the spinners also made the most of the turning tracks at display in India.Here are the top five bowlers out of the four Test series India played in.And now, the bowlers who troubled Kohli & Co.ADIL RASHIDAdil Rashid was the pick of the bowlers among all the teams, claiming 23 wickets from five matches with a best of 4/82 in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.The leggie is the only overseas player to have picked up more than 20 wickets out of the 13-Test long home season of India.Rashid was often criticised for not being effective or being able to pick wickets at crucial points but he still came out on top of with a handy wicket tally at an average of 37.43 in the five-Test series.NATHAN LYONNathan Lyon has been a much improved bowler over the last couple of years and that showed in the two-match Test series versus India.Lyon picked up 19 wickets from four matches at an average of 25.26 and looked the most dangerous bowlers with his consistent line and length, troubling the Indian batsmen throughout the series.He picked up his carrier best 8/50 in the first innings of the Bengaluru Test, that India won by 75 runs. He again picked up an important five-wicket haul in the first innings of the Dharamsala Test, to bowl out India with a small lead of 32 runs but Australia failed to capitalise on that and lost the match by eight wickets and series 2-1.STEVE O’KEEFESteve O’Keefe picked up 19 wickets and one of Australia’s leading wicket takers in the recently concluded series.He was India’s tormentor in-chief as the Australians announced themselves in Pune with a thumping victory of 333 runs in the first Test in Pune.Reuters PhotoO’Keefe picked up 6/35 in each of the innings and destroyed India’s batting in the process, finishing the match with career-best match figures of 12/70.His stock fell after that however as he struggled to replicate his performance but he did pick up a wicket here and there to end up with the same wickets as his spin partner come the end of the series.TRENT BOULT, MITCHELL SANTNER AND MOEEN ALIEach of them finished with a tally of 10 wickets each in the respective series.Boult and Santner were the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand picking up 10 wickets from three matches at an average of 33.30 and 52.40 respectively.The lack of ability to strike showed why the Kiwis failed to win any of their matches or put any strong performances.Moeen also picked up 10 wickets from five matches with a best of 3/98. He failed to support Rashid properly but that was again because of Cook giving him very less overs to bowl. He was expected to be the leading spinner, especially after his fantastic performances against India in England back in 2014 but he failed to replicate that in favouring conditions.advertisementAlso Watch:last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *