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India vs Australia Review - Australian ratings

India took the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with their first ever series win in Australia, prevailing 2-1. I said in the preview that the series will come down to the Australian batsmen’s ability to handle the Indian bowlers and I expressed doubts over bowlers like Shami, but the Indians were absolutely ruthless with the ball, and their attack keeps on getting better. The much vaunted South African attack have struggled in Asia in their las couple of visits, so I genuinely think we saw the best 2 pace attacks in the world on show in this series. Australia have been weak before, with the Packer and World Series Cricket years, but even their bench strength was always enough for Asian touring teams. The fact that this Australian side (with some questionable selections) was exposed ruthlessly by the Indians (who essentially won 3-1) means questions must be asked through all levels of Australian cricket, especially as this Indian side (although the best in the world right now) is not the best Indian side to have toured Australia.


Player Ratings - Australia

Marcus Harris - Harris entered the series as a rookie but came out with a reputation enhanced. I had my doubts before the series, but a Harris-Renshaw partnership for Sri Lanka with Burns and Warner waiting in the wings means Australia have a few decent openers. 70 on a difficult Perth pitch and 79 at Sydney were both good innings, but the hallmark of a test batsman is how many he scores when he gets in. While he got a good ball in Perth, he will be disappointed with his dismissal in Sydney, and some of his other dismissals across the series. Overall, an encouraging start to his test career as he ended as Australia’s leading scorer for the series. - 7/10


Aaron Finch - Finch got out in some very strange ways in this series, and in ways that quite frankly, are not good enough for a test opener. Driving and chopping on in the first innings of the series, and a flick to midwicket and a cut to first slip in Melbourne did not look good. A 50 in Perth was a good innings although India were pretty woeful in the first session and as they started to improve, Finch was dismissed. Eventually dropped, you have to question Finch’s ability as a test opener. Very few aggressive ODI openers succeed as test openers in the modern day, and most end up as middle order batsmen (see de Kock, Rohit, Zaman). Those that do end up at the top of the order often struggle (Guptill, Dhawan, Finch). Warner is a notable exception, but Finch is not as good as him. Hard to see a way back into the test fold unless he slots in at 5 or 6. - 3/10


Usman Khawaja - Khawaja was Australia’s big hope, and his home average is 52 in 22 tests, which is very impressive but he failed in this series. India were fantastic while bowling to him, giving him no width to unleash his offside game, and he eventually got out to a couple of ugly swipes through the series, which showed the pressure the Indians put him under. 72 in Perth was a good innings and he got a good ball then, but Australia needed more from Khawaja through the series - 5/10


Shaun Marsh - Shaun Marsh, contrary to popular opinion, actually had a decent series. He got the ball of the series from Jasprit Bumrah in Melbourne, and applied himself quite well in the first half of the series with 60 in Adelaide and 45 in Perth. Bigger scores were probably needed from Marsh, and this series essentially was his career in a nutshell : unfulfilled potential. At 35 however, this is no longer enough and it is likely Australia will want to explore more options ahead of the Ashes in the English summer. - 5/10


Peter Handscomb - Handscomb is a good player of spin, and were Australia to pick squads based on a horses for courses approach, Handscomb would make the team in an Asian tour every single time. However, outside Asia his technique just does not look like it will pass at test level. Like Gary Ballance for England, he bats incredibly deeply in the crease and eventually gets stuck, leaving a very ugly looking dismissal. He played well in Sydney against Kuldeep and Jadeja, but got out to Bumrah in disappointing fashion again. - 4/10


Travis Head - Head ended up as Australia’s second highest scorer of the series, so it is hard to be too critical of him, but he actually had an immensely frustrating series. He didn’t get a single single-figure score, indicating he got a start in every innings, with a composed 72 in Adelaide and 58 in Perth being the highlights, but he simply was not able to take it on for a big score. The relatively flat pitches in Melbourne and Sydney brought low returns for Head, as he often got out trying to force the tempo. 7 first class hundreds in 80 matches is not the hallmark of a test batsman and the selectors, despite a good series, must ask themselves, is Travis Head really one of the best 6 batsmen in Australia? - 6/10


Tim Paine - Good banter, good captaincy up until Sydney, and a decent show with the bat, Tim Paine had a good series. There were numerous starts through the series, and he applied himself very well by playing a lot of deliveries down the order and by playing with a straight bat. Paine looks like a competent test match wicket keeper batsman and must surely keep his spot for a few years now. The fields and tactics were all over the place in Sydney, but bear in mind he had a bowling attack that had been grounded into the dust by Cheteshwar Pujara by that point, and a test win in Perth must be lauded. - 7/10


Patrick Cummins - Australia’s best player by a country mile. A thorn in India’s side at number 8, he played magnificently at Melbourne for his 63 in the second innings. 6-27 was his highlight however, getting India’s big 3 batsmen of Pujara , Kohli and Rahane. A bowling average of 27 for the series despite 0-101 in Sydney shows just how good Cummins was in this series. He would run in day after day and pour everything into his bowling, he even dismissed the Indian captain 3 times in the series. One of the best test bowlers in the world right now, right up there with Rabada and Bumrah. - 9/10


Mitchell Starc - Starc had a good first half of the series, getting 10 wickets but 3 wickets in the final 2 tests of the series really tested his physical and mental reserves. His rhythm also seemed to be off through the series, with numerous byes flying around at 145kph nowhere near Paine. Australia need to have a look at Starc and see where exactly it went wrong as with the World Cup and an away Ashes series coming up, Starc needs to be fit and firing for Australia to be successful. - 5/10


Nathan Lyon - Lyon finished as the joint leading wicket taker of the series with 21 scalps, and he was man of the match in Australia’s win in Perth. Lyon was a threat through the series with his overspin and bounce, and really, it was only Sydney that India looked completely comfortable with him. Lyon and Ashwin were neck and neck at Adelaide, but with India not picking a spinner in Perth, he shone brightest taking 8 of 20 Indian wickets. Melbourne and Sydney were relatively flat and Australia’s batsmen didn’t get him into a position where he could bowl India out. Another Australian with an enhanced reputation as perhaps now the best off-spin bowler in the world - 8/10


Josh Hazlewood - Hazlewood’s biggest problem in the series came in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara. He looked probing in the first few tests of the series, but like Starc, tailed off towards the end of the series due to the number of overs he had to bowl in Melbourne and Sydney. Hazlewood has never ended a home series with a worse bowling average, but he bowled relatively well in the series. - 6/10


Mitchell Marsh - just the 1 test for Mitchell Marsh, and he bowled economically and did his job, but 2 more failures with the bat mean he simply is not living up to his all rounder tag in test colours for Australia. He may be given another go, given Langer is a huge fan from his days at Western Australia, but it is certain that Mitchell Marsh’s test match opportunities are running out - fast. - 4/10

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