Optimistic off the back of a dominant home summer, Australia received a rude awakening as to the challenges they face in they’re to beat India in India, thumped in the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by an innings and 126 runs.
The Sporting Landscape’s Player Rankings aim to determine the ten best players from the match, and rank each player's performance from ten to one.
Somewhat surprisingly, due to the one-sided nature of the game, our 1st Test player rankings feature an equal quota of five Australians and five Indians. This can be attributed to the fact India’s batsmen only had one chance to perform and a bulk of runs were made by their bowlers. Unsurprisingly however, the top-five is dominated by Indians, with debutant Todd Murphy the only tourist to crack the top-half of the list.
Find the full 1st Test Player Rankings below.
10. Peter Handscomb (AUS) 31 (84 balls) and 6 (6)
By virtue of India only batting once and the majority of their wickets being taken by two bowlers, Handscomb finds himself sneaking onto the list for his plucky first innings 31.
9. Alex Carey (AUS) 36 (33) and 10 (6)
In a similar vein to Handscomb, Carey was a solid contributor in Australia’s first innings, but unfortunately for him and the Aussies all that hard work came undone in the second.
8. Marnus Labuschagne (AUS) 49 (123) and 17 (28)
Labuschagne put on a critical 82-run third wicket partnership with Smith in the first innings, but having got himself set to an extent in the second innings, will undoubtedly be disappointed to not have gone on with it.
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7. Steve Smith (AUS) 37 (107) and 25* (51)
Smith could do nothing but watch on in horror as he ran out of batting partners in the second innings en route to an abysmal team total of 91. Was Australia’s stand out batter - albeit the bar was set relatively low - having toughed it out in the first innings arriving at the crease at 2-2.
6. Mohammed Shami (IND) 37 (47), 1-18 (9) and 2-13 (4)
In a match dominated by spin, Shami was a tidy contributor with ball in hand, finishing with match figures of 3-31 from 13 overs. Helped set the tone in the first innings with the crucial wicket of David Warner in the third over, and also finished the game off, mopping up Australia’s tail to take the final two wickets of the match.
5. Axar Patel (IND) 84 (174), 0-28 (10) and 1-6 (3)
Patel’s somewhat a victim of the dominance of Jadeja and Ashwin, and could very well find himself a first-choice all-rounder - and a successful one at that - had his country of birth or time period differed. Instead, he’s India’s third-choice spinning all-rounder. Was relatively quiet with the ball but shone with bat in hand, striking 84 in India’s lone batting innings.
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4. Todd Murphy (AUS) 7-124 (47)
Wow. Just wow. ‘Blood him in India and he’ll be a lamb to the slaughter,’ they said. Not quite, far from it in fact. Test debuts don’t come much better than a 7-fa, especially in India, and he was comfortably the pick of Australia’s bowlers. Murphy’s the most promising spinner to come out of Australia for some time, averaging 23.75 with the ball in his seven Sheffield Shield matches. For context, Mitch Swepson has a Shield bowling average of 35 and Ashton Agar 42. Careers aren’t defined by a lone performance, but the future appears to be bright for 22-year-old Murphy.
3. Rohit Sharma (IND) 120 (212)
The Indian skipper lead from the front with bat in hand, laying the foundation for India’s decisive first innings total of 400 with a brilliant 120. Hard to fault his captaincy either, having claimed an innings and 132-run victory.
2. Ravichandran Ashwin (IND) 23 (62), 3-42 (15.5) and 5-37 (12)
Made a gallant 23 batting three as India’s nightwatchman, but it was Ashwin’s bowling that headlined his critical display, claiming five wickets in a second innings domination that saw Australia skittled for their lowest ever total on Indian shores - just 91.
1. Ravindra Jadeja (IND) 70 (185), 5-47 (22), 2-34 (12)
Jadeja stood tall with both bat and ball in Nagpur. His 70 was pivotal as India’s tail wagged to lift them to 400. Was also dominant with the ball claiming five first innings wickets as he mowed through Australia’s middle-order, and was even on a hat-trick at one point. The potent all-rounder could well be a thorn in the side of the Aussies for the remainder of the series.