India's Lord's report cards

Blog Opinion

India won the second Test at Lord's by 95 runs on Monday, only their second Test win at the venue, and it was an all-round effort topped by some good captaincy, though the bowlers did more than their share, with both ball and bat.

India won the second Test at Lord's by 95 runs on Monday, only their second Test win at the venue, and it was an all-round effort topped by some good captaincy that got the job done, though the bowlers did more than their share, with both ball and bat.

Here's how we graded them.

<b>Murali Vijay</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 8 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 24 and 95

The opener scored a century and a half ton in the first Test, and he carried that form to the Home of Cricket. While his first innings wasn't overly successful, his second knock was crucial as the top and middle order failed to get going. He stood sentinel at one end and pushed India's lead to something defendable, until the bottom order ensured a 300-plus score. He saw off the new ball in both innings with aplomb, unlike his England counterparts.

<b>Shikhar Dhawan</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 5 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 7 and 31

Dhawan, in contrast, has not had a good tour so far, failing to register a half century. He hasn't been able to transfer the form he had in the IPL to the Test arena, thus putting pressure on his number three and on Vijay. India will need him to come to the party with the bat, despite his safe hands in the field in this match.

<b>Cheteshwar Pujara</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 6.5 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 28 and 43

If you're thinking his score generous, look at how many balls he faced for his 28. He lasted for 117 balls and nearly three hours on day one of a ragingly green track, essentially opening the batting after Dhawan departed early. He was the anchor for much of Ajinkya Rahane's innings, and in the second dig he batted at a much quicker pace to up the lead and frustrate England's bowlers. He also took two high catches on day five.

<b>Virat Kohli</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 4 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 25 and 0

Like Dhawan, Virat Kohli has not had a good tour and is also without a half century. As one of India's superstars, this will be disappointing to him, and also to his skipper, as it's put the pressure on the lower order. When Kohli scores big, so do the others a lot of the time, feeding off his energy, but the top order has been below par alongside his failures. He won't be panicking yet, given he scored a century two Tests ago, but he won't be comfortable either.

<b>Ajinkya Rahane</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 8 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 103 and 5

One of two centurions in this Test, Rahane's first innings 103 was beyond important in the context of the game. It propelled India to 295 and made England's bowlers look wasteful given the conditions. He masterfully resisted for nearly four hours, and hit the game's only six. India were in trouble in the first innings, and his knock saved them, making England's task that much tougher.

<b>MS Dhoni</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 6 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 1 and 19

MSD is a tricky one to rate. He didn't make big runs, though his second innings was a battling one that used up 86 balls and took the side past 200. But his leadership was the focal point, especially compared to Cook's. He was in control at all times, rotating his bowlers, shuffling his fielders, and encouraging Ishant Sharma to stick with the short ball on day five, which resulted in the win. He was also rather Funky, standing back to spinner Ravi Jadeja late in the match, to counteract variable bounce. Whether it worked, or was within the laws is debatable, but he certainly wasn't his overly cautious self here. His keeping was also significantly better than his England counterpart's.

<b>Stuart Binny</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 3 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 9 and 0; <i>Wickets</i>: 0

Poor Binny. In only his second Test, following on from his match-saving innings in Nottingham, the wheels came off somewhat. He was picked ahead of Ravi Ashwin based on his batting in that Test, but could not replicated it, just like Ashton Agar had done last year. The likelihood of him being dropped for Southampton is high, given he didn't even bowl in the second innings.

<b>Ravi Jadeja</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 7 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 3 and 68; <i>Wickets</i>: 3

Jadeja won the battle with James Anderson on the field, removing his new nemesis in both innings, while also scoring his maiden Test half century in trying and important circumstances. Jadeja's 68, in conjunction with Bhuvi Kumar's half ton, ensured India had a strong enough lead to defend, and it came at better than a run a ball. There was talk of him being dropped for this Test, but he had the psychological upper hand the whole way.

<b>Bhuvneshwar Kumar</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 9 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 36 and 52; <i>Wickets</i>: 6

The bovine-eyed medium pacer may not rock the speed gun, but his line and length were beautiful in the first innings as he recorded a six-fer. He took all of England's top four wickets, swinging the ball like an Anderson, and then proceeded to contribute with the bat, twice. Astonishingly, he scored two half tons in Nottingham too, making the number nine India's second-best batsman in the series so far, and third overall, behind Vijay and Ballance. He also leads the wicket list. If not for his tail-end knocks, India may not have had enough runs to win. He was robbed of the man of the match two games in a row.

<b>Mohammed Shami</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 4 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 19 and 0; <i>Wickets</i>: 2

Unfortunately for Shami, his efforts here were hugely overshadowed by Bhuvi and Ishant, not that he did much anyway. After his batting heroics in the first Test, the number 10 added another decent knock in the first innings, but his place on the pecking order showed itself in the second. He took a wicket in each innings, going at three to the over.

<b>Ishant Sharma</b><br><b>Rating</b>: 8.5 out of 10<br><i>Runs</i>: 12 not out and 0 not out; <i>Wickets</i>: 7

Ishant doesn't score as highly as Bhuvi purely because the latter made lots of runs. Ishant's seven for 74 was his best effort in Tests, and he was enthralling on day five. For someone who cops so much flak, and who was overstepping like a fiend in the warm ups, he certainly has the ability to shock all sceptics when he gets it right. His spell of short bowling after lunch on Monday was precise, fast and dangerous, and none of the England batsmen could resist the bait, hooking and pulling to their detriment. He is second behind Bhuvi on the wicket-taker list for the series.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>