India hammered England by an innings in the fourth and final Test at Motera in Ahmedabad to take the series 3-1. It was a great performance by the home team to come back after losing the series opener and outplay England in the remaining three matches. There were many heroes for India in the series – from Rohit Sharma’s magnificent hundred in the second Test which led to the transformation to R Ashwin’s and Axar Patel’s brilliance with the ball, from the discovery of a new batting all-rounder Washington Sundar to the genius of Rishabh Pant – these players gave in exceptional performances to help India secure a place alongside New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship in England in June.
We look at 10 numbers that stood out from the series.
13: Number of Home Series Wins on the Trot for India
India registered their 13 consecutive home series win when they beat England 3-1 in the four-match series. They have not lost a series at home since losing to England in 2012. Such domination in home conditions has seldom been witnessed by any team in the history of Test cricket. India broke the record of the great Australian team of the 1990s and 2000s which had won 10 successive home series from 1994 to 2001 and then from 2004 to 2008.
32: Number of Wickets Taken By Ashwin in the series
R Ashwin returned with 32 wickets in the 4 Tests at a brilliant average of 14.71 which included three fifers. Ashwin became the first Indian bowler to take 30 or more wickets in a series twice in his career. The off spinner had picked 31 wickets (in 4 Tests and 7 innings) against South Africa at home in 2015.
30: Number of Five-Fors by Ashwin in Test Cricket
Ashwin returned with 5-47 in 22.5 overs in the second innings of the final Test at Motera. This was his 30th fifer in Test cricket tying him with James Anderson as the joint sixth-highest on the all-time count. 24 of Ashwin’s five-fors have at home in India, second only to Anil Kumble who had 25.
27: Number of Wickets Taken By Axar Patel in his Debut Series
Axar Patel became the joint-highest wicket-taker for an Indian bowler in his debut Test series as he returned with 27 wickets in just three Tests against England at a stunning average of 10.59 and strike rate of 28.3. His exploits included four fifers and one ten-wickets in a match haul. Dilip Doshi claimed 27 wickets in the six-Test home series against Australia in 1979.
7: Number of Five-Fors By Indian Bowlers in the series
India accounted for 7 five-fors in an innings in the series against England setting a joint-record. The only other instances when an Indian bowling unit has picked 7 five-fors in a series came back in 1954-55 in Pakistan and 1977-78 in Australia.
4: Number of Times England were Bowled Out for Less Than 150 in this series
England were bowled out for 134 in the first innings of the second Test in Chennai, 112 and 81 in the Pink Ball Test in Ahmedabad and 135 in the second innings of the last Test at the same venue. Not since 1909 against Australia has England been routed for below 150 in an innings four (or more) times in a series. In fact this has happened only three times in any series for England in their Test history – such poor and miserable were their batsmen against the likes of Ashwin and Axar Patel!
18.63: England’s Batting Average in the series
England’s Batting Average of 18.63 in the series was their lowest in any series in India – so poor and shambolic was their performance with the bat. England were bowled out for less than 200 in six of the 8 innings they batted in the tournament. Barring Joe Root and Ben Stokes none of their batsmen had an average of above 25 (min. two Tests) in the series. England’s previous lowest batting average of 24.33 in India came in 1993 when they were swept 3-0 by the trio of Kumble, Raju and Chauhan.
345: Rohit Sharma’s Aggregate in the series
Rohit Sharma was India’s best batsman in the series and the second-highest scorer overall amongst both teams with 345 runs in 4 Tests (7 innings) at an average of 57.5.
His brilliant 161 off 231 deliveries in the first innings of the second Test, with India 0-1 down in the series, was one of the best centuries by an Indian batsman at home in Test cricket. While others failed around him on a difficult wicket, Rohit not only scored big runs but scored them at a high strike rate. Rohit scored nearly two-thirds (65%) of his team’s total when he was dismissed. His hundred marked a transformation in India’s fortunes in the series.
45.26: Rishabh Pant’s Batting Average in Test Cricket
Rishabh Pant is fast emerging as one of India’s greatest match-winners with the bat in Test cricket. From his match-saving effort at the SCG to his series-winning performance in the decider at The Gabba to his sensational hundred in the last England Test in Ahmedabad – Pant has matured into a fine lower-order Test batsman capable of winning matches for India single-handedly with the bat. He has already aggregated 1358 runs in 33 Test innings at an average of 45.26 including three hundreds and 6 fifties.
Pant’s batting average places him at number 4 on an all-time list for wicketkeeper batsman (min. 1000 runs) only behind AB de Villiers, Andy Flower and Adam Gilchrist.
3: Number of Fifties for Washington Sundar in his First Six Test Innings
India have discovered a new star batting all-rounder in their last two Test series – in Australia and against England in India. Washington Sundar has produced three monumental performances with the bat in his first six Test innings. He had recorded a match-defining 62 in a match-changing stand with Shardul Thakur when the top and middle order had failed in the series decider in Brisbane on Test debut.
He produced a classic unbeaten 85 in the first innings of the series opener in Chennai. Sundar then registered an unbeaten 96 in the fourth and final Test against England in Ahmedabad coming out to bat at 146 for 6 with his team under pressure and changing the match on its head being involved in two back to back century partnerships.
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