The 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy saw an enthralling turn of events where the visitors went on to clinch their maiden Test series victory Down Under. This was India’s twelfth tour down the Australian Islands and Virat Kohli became the first Asian Captain to hold a test series trophy in Australia.
There were quite a few players who performed remarkably for their respective teams thus making the series an exciting affair. Team CricWizz would hence like to mention them specially for their dazzling effort:
This was a do-or-die series for Rishabh Pant as regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha regained his fitness. After MS Dhoni was dropped for the T20I series against West Indies and Australia, there were criticism against the selection committee who had put confidence on the Delhi youngster even after his below-performance against the Windies in the ODI series, however, after becoming the first Asian wicket-keeper to have scored a century Down Under, all criticisms were laid to rest.
The Delhi-lad had the best batting strike-rate in the entire series with 73.99. He also scored second highest individual score 159* in the series, which was second best only to his teammate Cheteshwar Pujara’s 193. With 350 runs in the series, Pant was the second highest leading run scorer. His batting average of 58.33 was just the second best to Pujara’s 74.42 in the series where a player has played a minimum of 3 games. He also hit 5 sixes in the series along with Mayank Agarwal to become the joint-highest batsman to hit sixes in the series. Along with Virat Kohli, Pant with 31 fours became the joint second highest batsman to hit fours, a chart that was led by Pujara who hit 50 fours.
Having waited in the wings for quite a few years now, Mayank Agarwal finally got a chance to don the Indian jersey after both the regular openers of the Indian Test team, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, were axed from the playing eleven. In his very first innings in International cricket, the Karnataka batsman showed promise after scoring 76. This score of 76 was the highest score by an Indian cricketer on a Test debut in Australia, going past the previous record of 51 runs set by Dattu Phadkar, at the SCG in 1947.
Mayank further scored 42 in the second innings, thus becoming the top-scorer of the entire match on his debut match, a feat very rare. He further scored 77 on the fourth and final Test of the series. His average of 65 is the second-best batting average in the entire series, right behind Pujara’s 74.42. He hit 5 sixes along with Rishabh Pant to become the joint highest batsman to have hit sixes in the series.
Some players give their all in the game, however, the numbers don’t complement the efforts that they have put in. Such is the case of Pat Cummins. He was the best all-rounder in the series by margins, giving his all in both departments. He was the best bowler for Australia, although his numbers won’t say the same, he kept a check on the Indian batsmen who negated him playing watchfully and carefully. He even contributed with the bat, bringing Australia out of many tricky situations.
Cummins bagged the best-bowling performance in the series as in the second innings of the Third Test match, he returned with the figures of 6/27. In the entire Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Cummins scalped 14 wickets. He further had the best bowling strike-rate for the Kangaroos with 62.14, while also having the best average amongst the Australian bowlers with 27.78.
There is no list in the modern era where the name of Virat Kohli won’t pop up, and especially so when he is participating in the series. Although this series was not personally as glittering as he would have hoped, still he managed to score a century and a half-century in the series.
He showed his true self when India were struggling in the first innings of the Perth Test with a gritty ton. En-route to his knock of 123, Virat Kohli registered his 25th Test century. After winning the Boxing Day Test Match at MCG, Virat became the first Indian Captain to win two Tests in Australia, while also equalling Sourav Ganguly’s record of most overseas Test wins as an Indian Captain. He further became the first-ever Indian Captain to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, while he also became the first Asian Captain to win a Test Series in Australia.
Kohli stood third in the leading run-scorers chart with 282 runs in seven innings. He also was the joint second highest batsman to hit fours in the entire series along with Rishabh Pant, hitting 31 of them. Further, he had the 4th best batting average with 40.28 of all batsmen in the entire series.
Nathan Lyon surprised everyone by picking up plenty of wickets in pacer-friendly pitches against the Indian batting order that is considered to play spin excellently. With two fifers, one four-fer and one three wickets in 7 innings, Lyon completely outshone the other Australian bowlers by picking wickets in abundance. He was the joint leading wicket-taker in 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar trophy by dismissing 21 batsmen. He also led the charts for the most number of 5-wicket hauls in the series by picking up fifers in two innings.
Another bowler just like Pat Cummins whose stats do not justify his efforts in the series is Jasprit Bumrah. He was by far the best bowler in the series, testing and troubling the batsman regularly, and definitely deserved more wickets than he eventually got. Since his Test debut at Newlands, Bumrah has picked up 49 wickets in 10 Test averaging almost 5-wickets per match and the same form continued Down Under too.
He managed 21 wickets in seven innings in the series, averaging five wickets per match, becoming the joint leading wicket-taker along with Nathan Lyon. He also had the second-best bowling figures 6/33 in the series after Pat Cummins. Bumrah also staked the claim of having the best bowling strike rate of 44.90 in the series (minimum 2 matches). Further, he had the best average for bowlers in the series with 17.00. For a player who has played a minimum of 3 matches in the series, Jasprit Bumrah was the most economical bowler in the series with 2.27. Bumrah also picked up 4, the most number of 3-wicket hauls in the series.
The 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy was a career-defining series for Cheteshwar Pujara. He was arguably the best player in the entire series after scoring three centuries and one-half century en-route to 521 runs in seven innings in the series thus leading the run-charts. Pujara further had two of the three highest individual scores in the series with 193 and 123.
With a batting average of 74.42, he was the best amongst all the men who batted. Further, he hit the most number of centuries,3, in the series along with hitting the most number of fours, 50. He not only tired the Australian players out with his resilient and gritty effort but also impacted mentally by not giving away his wicket cheaply.
These were the few players who have stood out of the rest in the recently concluded India tour of Australia in 2018-19. As per the CricWizz Team, 5 Indians and 2 Australians make the list. Who else do you think made difference in the present series?