India - Marks out of ten

Gambhir's the best of 'em all

India won a Test series in New Zealand after 41 years. Cricinfo runs the rule over those who contributed to the memorable achievement overseas

Sidharth Monga

April 8, 2009

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India won a Test series in New Zealand after 41 years. Cricinfo runs the rule over those who contributed to the memorable achievement overseas.


Gautam Gambhir drives, New Zealand v India, 3rd Test, Wellington, 3rd day, April 5, 2009
Gautam Gambhir removed some question marks over his temperament and batting outside the subcontinent © AFP
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9

Gautam Gambhir

He set up a win in Hamilton, saved a match that looked lost in Napier, and batted New Zealand out in Wellington - the three main jobs an opener is expected to do. Three ticks in three boxes. In the process, Gambhir also removed a few question marks over his temperament and doubts over his batting outside the subcontinent. He loses out on a perfect 10 because he had a century for the taking in Hamilton, and played a loose shot when on 72.

8.5

Harbhajan Singh

The revelation of the tour for India. Harbhajan enjoyed being the lead spinner, taking wickets and also tying one end up for the fast bowlers to do their job from the other. Almost everywhere in New Zealand, one end tended to be more helpful to the pacers. Harbhajan bowled unbroken spells of 23 overs and 17 overs into the Wellington wind, and gave nothing away. The leading wicket-taker in Tests, he had the best bowling average and topped the wicket charts in ODIs too.

Zaheer Khan

He got early wickets every time. Hostility, precision, and intelligence all worked for him, resulting in 13 wickets in the Tests. Zaheer crossed 100 wickets outside India, at a better average and strike-rate than any Indian bowler. He promised a five-for in Wellington if the batsmen saved the Napier Test, and delivered, securing the series on the second day of the last Test.

8

Sachin Tendulkar

Didn't disappoint the fans - who thought this could be his last trip to New Zealand - at all. Some of his fluent batting rolled back the years, and reminded of the Tendulkar of the old. He continued from where he left off in the Christchurch ODI - 163 retired hurt - with a 160 in the Hamilton Test. Big scores went uncharacteristically missing, but New Zealand did exceptionally well to escape with 49, 64, 62 and 9 in his last four efforts.

7.5

VVS Laxman

Laxman missed out in Hamilton, where India had taken complete control by the time he arrived. But in Napier, all of his artistry was on show. He was disappointed to get out on 71 in the first innings, becoming a part of a collapse. But in the second innings, he scored a hundred that was a perfect blend of caution, fluency, and breathtaking strokeplay. Another half-century in the last Test took his tally to 295 runs at 73.75.

Rahul Dravid

Completely shrugged off his poor run of form. He was the most consistent Indian batsman with scores of 66, 8 not out, 83, 62, 35 and 60. It was very unlike Dravid to miss out on so many opportunities to score centuries. He played a poor shot once, which resulted in the collapse in Napier, but was the first to take the blame for it. He made up for it with a dogged half-century in the second innings, where an ordinary umpiring decision robbed him of another century.

MS Dhoni

What he brings to the side became glaringly obvious in the Napier Test that he missed. His wicketkeeping and batting at No. 7 were badly missed, apart from his captaincy. It's tough to put a finger on what difference he makes tactically, but there seemed to be a different level of energy to the team when he was the captain.

6

Virender Sehwag

Missed out on explosive starts in Hamilton and Wellington and attracted criticism for shot-selection against spinners two evenings in a row in Napier. Nevertheless Sehwag kept the opening bowlers honest as some of the mental disintegration from the ODIs stayed with Test bowlers as well. He put bowlers off their plan on the fresh Wellington pitch.

5.5

Ishant Sharma

Didn't live up to the high expectations leading into the tour. Ishant struggled in the Wellington wind, but was impressive in Hamilton. Eight wickets at 41.75 wasn't a fair reflection of the pace and discomfort he managed to create. He just wasn't consistent enpugh.

5

Munaf Patel

The tour was representative of Munaf in general. When he got going in Hamilton, he took more wickets than any fast bowler in the match. When he started to go for runs in Napier, a dropped catch notwithstanding, he looked lethargic and disinterested. Munaf was underused in Wellington, but if he bowls like he did in Hamilton, he could solve the problem of the third seam bowler.

4.5

Yuvraj Singh

Undid the good work from the Test series against England. Napier was a situation tailormade for him to make a Test name for himself, but couldn't survive the new ball. Dropped catches in the slips wouldn't have helped his confidence. Yuvraj will have to start a new Test innings all over again.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Tour Results
New Zealand v India at Wellington - Apr 3-7, 2009
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Napier - Mar 26-30, 2009
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Hamilton - Mar 18-21, 2009
India won by 10 wickets
New Zealand v India at Auckland - Mar 14, 2009
New Zealand won by 8 wickets (with 118 balls remaining)
New Zealand v India at Hamilton - Mar 11, 2009
India won by 84 runs (D/L method)
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days