Marks out of ten - India February 2, 2005

Few crumbs of comfort

It was not a series to be a bowler. And, as it turned out at Karachi, it was not a series to be an Indian batsman either. Siddhartha Vaidyanathan runs the rule over the losers of the 2005-06 Indo-Pak encounter



Yuvraj Singh: a valiant century at Karachi, but a futile one at that © AFP

7.5 Rahul Dravid

Produced two hundreds under pressure, in an unfamiliar role as opener, and helped India to fighting draws in the opening two games. He shuffled around his options in the field and sent out aggressive signals by picking five specialist bowlers for the second Test, but he will always rue his twin failures in the decisive game.

7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Met fire with fire when India were on a slippery slope at Faisalabad, racing to a fabulous maiden Test hundred. Barring a couple of missed opportunities, had a fine series behind the stumps.

7 Irfan Pathan

Came back strongly after a torrid time on the first two days of the series. But he soaked up the pressure in his crucial 90 and turned in an improved bowling performance in the second innings. Hat-trick will remain a career-high, regardless of the result.

6.5 Yuvraj Singh

Spanked a vital 45 and a glorious hundred in a losing cause at Karachi, and fell to an impetuous pull shot in his only other innings in the series. He was outstanding in the field, snaffling a sensational catch at a crucial juncture at Faisalabad.

6.5 RP Singh

Snapped up four wickets on an impressive debut at Faisalabad and but fell away a bit in the crucial second innings at Karachi. Overall, it was a promising beginning to his Test career.

6.5 Zaheer Khan

Enjoyed a good return to the international fold and ended with 10 wickets, the most by an Indian in the series. Appeared jaded in the second innings at Karachi but was impressive enough to earn a recall into the one-day side.

6 Virender Sehwag

Thundered a devastating 254 at Lahore, leading a most stunning riposte when faced with a mammoth total. Failed in all three innings that followed, and was hampered by an illness mid-way through the series.

5.5 VVS Laxman

Steadied the ship at Faisalabad with a stylish 90. Was on the receiving end of two Mohammad Asif jaffas at Karachi and was cleaned up for cheap scores.

5.5 Sourav Ganguly

Displayed tremendous composure in the first innings at Karachi, before falling for a loose stroke, and played another assured knock in the second innings. Bowled some handy overs and took a blinding catch at Lahore.

5 Anil Kumble

Toiled away for 143 overs in the series, on pitches hardly suited to his style. Ended with nine wickets but will probably look back at this as the most forgettable series in recent memory.

4 Sachin Tendulkar

Didn't come to terms with Shoaib's pace and, despite promising much in his brief stint in the second innings at Karachi, finished with a miserable average of 21.

3.5 Harbhajan Singh

Went wicketless after struggling throughout. He made no impression on featherbeds used for the opening two Tests and was dropped for the third.

3.5 Ajit Agarkar

Had a tough time on a pancake-flat pitch at Lahore, picking up two wickets and being carted for more than five an over. Suffered a hamstring injury at Faisalabad and missed the next two games.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo

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