Australia report card: Kangaroos down and out

Pat Cummins turned out to be the situational all-rounder, while Nathan Lyon kept troubling the Indian batsmen throughout the series.

Australia skipper Tim Paine reacts after dropping a catch in Melbourne.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Even without Steve Smith and David Warner, the Australian line-up had a lot of firepower on paper. But Tim Paine and side lost crucial sessions in the four-match tournament to lose the series 2-1.

 

Here’s a performance review

Aaron Finch (4/10): The dynamic right-hander failed to fire at the top, collecting 97 runs from three Tests with one fifty against his name.

 

Aaron Finch disappointed at the top of the order.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Marcus Harris (7/10): The southpaw showed promise opening the innings for Australia in his debut series. He topped the batting chart for the host side with 258 runs including two half-centuries. He looked solid against the Indian spinners and used his feet often to smother the turn.

 

Marcus Harris is hit by a bouncer in Sydney.   -  AP

Usman Khawaja (6/10): Khawaja's 198 runs in the series belie his status as one of Australia's premier batsmen. He did exhibit patience and aplomb that's expected of a No. 3 but the inconsistency cost the team dearly. He, too, has only fifty.

 

Usman Khawaja in action in Perth.   -  AFP

 

Travis Head (7/10): Head has been around for a while but it's only recently that he has started making waves in Test cricket. A sound technique and an ability to use the crease against the spinners meant he was the team's second highest run-scorer with 237 runs and two fifties — one of the few silver linings in the host's batting.

 

Travis Head is cleaned up by Ishant Sharma in Melbourne.   -  AFP

Mitchell Marsh (3/10): He has played one Test and scored 19 runs. His inclusion was premised around his all-round capabilities, however he sent down 26 overs for 51 runs without a wicket.

 

Marnus Labuschagne (3/10): He played just one Test, scored 38 runs and leaked 76 without a scalp.

 

Peter Handscomb (4/10): Handscomb’s stance makes him a leg-before candidate as was evident in the series. But he is one of Australia’s best players of spin. Unfortunately, a total of 105 runs in three Tests meant he couldn’t lend stability to the batting department.

 

Shaun Marsh (5/10): Barring one innings of 60 where he showed the temperament to dig in, Shaun didn't have much to show for his selection in the XI. His 183 runs with just one fifty makes his place in the side increasingly dodgy.

 

Shaun Marsh lacked spark in the middle-order.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Tim Paine (5/10): Full marks to Paine, the captain, for leading his team with great chutzpah but his batting lower down the order was a let down. He battled alongside Nathan Lyon and nearly salvaged a draw in Adelaide but a tally of 174 runs in a side with little to no depth in batting wasn't enough.

 

Tim Paine and Mitchell Starc in a conversation on the second day of the Sydney Test.   -  AFP

 

Pat Cummins (9/10): Pat Cummins was Australia's star with both bat and ball. While 163 runs with a high score of 63 may not make for an impressive reading, it's the situation in which the runs were scored that elevates his importance to the side. Against a raging Indian pace attack, Cummins showed the skills that are expected of a top-order batsman. Fourteen wickets with the ball which included a career best six for 27 adds gloss to the numbers.

 

Pat Cummins in full throttle during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

 

Mitchell Starc (6/10): Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of the series for Australia. He was unplayable in patches but was largely oscillating between short length and leg stump line otherwise. The inability to find reverse swing with the old ball too blunted his threat. So 13 wickets and 117 runs with the bat, the latter being a more significant contribution, speaks about Starc's average outing.

 

Nathan Lyon (8/10): Lyon was Australia's linchpin in the bowling department. His six-for in the second innings in Adelaide was the 13th time the off-spinner had taken five or more wickets in an innings. He may have lost his bite in the latter half of the series but still managed to top the wickets tally for Australia with 21 scalps. His returns with the bat — 83 runs — although not very flattering on face value, added to the spine of Australia's nagging tail.

 

Lyon's six-for in the second innings in Adelaide was the 13th time the off-spinner had taken five or more wickets in an innings.   -  AFP

Josh Hazlewood (7/10): Neither too good nor too bad. Again like Starc, he was threatening on pitches with bounce and seam movement but was taken for runs on placid tracks. A total of 13 dismissals further attest the lacklustre impact.

 

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