Flawless Ashwin leads the way as India ace spin test
R Ashwin (31 wickets at 11.12, 101 runs at 25.25)
Man of the Series for a fourth time out of the six series he has played in India. Continued on from the good work in Sri Lanka on pitches that were more helpful and more familiar. The ball came out beautifully, loose balls could be counted on the fingers, and the psychological hold was never released. Contributed valuable lower-order runs for good measure.
Ravindra Jadeja (23 wickets at 10.82, 109 runs at 21.8)
Unfortunately, there could be only one Man of the Series. Was the perfect foil to Ashwin's artistry with his high pace and accurate bowling, and with his use of subtle changes of pace and crease. Was a constant thorn for South Africa with the bat. Scored crucial runs from 102 for 5 in Mohali, 125 for 6 in Nagpur and 139 for 6 in Delhi.
Amit Mishra (seven wickets at 17.28)
Did not get as many wickets or overs as the two leading spinners. Was the disposable spinner too. But when he played, he picked the big ones. In Mohali he got AB de Villiers twice, in Nagpur he ended the resistance offered by Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis. Captain Kohli was asked if he missed Mishra in Delhi when South Africa frustrated India.
M Vijay (210 runs at 35)
In a series dominated by the ball, he gave India the important runs in Mohali and in Nagpur. Did not cash in when it might have been slightly easier in Delhi, but his 75 and 40 in Mohali and 40 in Nagpur set the tone for India's wins. He will be a little disappointed he did not convert one of them into big runs.
Ajinkya Rahane (266 runs at 53.2)
The one man who converted the starts was Ajinkya Rahane. The only man to score a century in the series, he went ahead and got himself another, both in the last Test. That he did not get a start on turning surfaces in the first two Tests will be a little bother.
Cheteshwar Pujara (202 runs at 33.66)
Similar to Vijay but just a notch below in quantity. Gave India the runs in Mohali and Nagpur after shaky starts. Looked good for a hundred in the second innings in Mohali. For a man who was not the first choice in Sri Lanka, Pujara has shown his worth to the team for good.
Wriddhiman Saha (five catches, two stumpings, 83 runs at 16.6)
Not quite MS Dhoni, but began to come into his own as a pure wicketkeeper. Was dogged with the bat, surviving more than 100 balls on the Nagpur minefield. Was the rock in the lower order, which frustrated South Africa.
Virat Kohli (200 runs at 33.33)
His failures were similar to Rahane's in the first two Tests that he batted in. When he looked really good, in Delhi, he got out in a freakish manner. Was vigorous as captain. His demand for turning pitches shows a certain selflessness, in that he did not care for his or his other batsmen's numbers as much as he did for Test wins.
Umesh Yadav (Five wickets at 12)
There was not much for him to do in the series, but when there was, in Delhi, he did so with aplomb. He reversed the ball, bowled at a good pace, and provided India the breakthroughs when needed badly on the final day of the series.
Shikhar Dhawan (150 runs at 25)
Had a horrible start to the series with a pair in Mohali, but showed remarkable application in the remaining five innings that he had. He made the bowlers or the pitch get him out, but the big score is still missing. Might have earned himself another chance, but needs to find a big one soon.
Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Stuart Binny
Was not much in there for them in the pitches or the match situation. Ishant remained economical, Aaron produced a superb delivery to get Amla out in Bangalore, and Binny took a special catch.
Rohit Sharma (26 runs at 6.5)
India's big disappointment of the series. They have invested so much in him that he must feel under tremendous pressure in Tests now. What will hurt more is not that he didn't score runs, but the way he got out on three of the four occasions.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo