Captains Tim Paine and Ajinka Rahane had very different series' Image Source: cricket.com.au

Its a match and a test series that will live long in the memory bank for all test cricket fans forever.

As Australia’s stranglehold on the Gabba fell to an irrepressible and unflappable Indian team, heroes emerged and older stars failed to reach thier lifty heights.

The Inner Sanctum takes a look at who produced the goods and who fell short across this most remarkable test series.


Joe Burns

Matches: 2

Statistics: 63 runs. Average: 21. High score: 51*

Grade: 2/10

After a subpar Sheffield Shield season, an unconfident Joe Burns came into the side with plenty of questions surrounding his form and lack of runs. 

Only on one occasion, he managed to reach double digits – his match-winning half-century on day 5 of the Adelaide Test. Outside of this, his disappointing returns of 4, 0, and 8 runs in his other three innings were reflective of a batsman who came into the series with no form. 

Marcus Harris

Matches: 1

Statistics: 43 runs. Average: 21.5. High score: 38

Grade: 3/10

Coming off a spectacular form in the Sheffield Shield, Harris was a late call up to the Test squad and made a solitary late appearance after being called into the side to replace an injured Pucovski. 

He gave a serviceable performance across the two innings, averaging 21.5 runs. But it was a combination of technical flaws and a determined Indian bowling attack that undid him at the crease, with doubts beginning to surface about his ability to open at an international level. 

David Warner

Matches: 2

Statistics: 67 runs. Average: 16.75. High score: 48

Grade: 3/10

Rushed back from his groin injury to fill the gaping hole at the top of the order. Many questioned if it was right to bring him back when they did, especially after a series of soft dismissals and looking short of a gallop out in the middle.

Warner’s performance was not up to his usual standard. He made 19 runs across his first three innings. This struggle continued until his final inning where he made 48 runs. 

Will Pucovski – 5

Matches: 1

Statistics: 72 runs. Average: 36.0 High Score: 62

Grade: 6/10

After three years of waiting and several phenomenal Shield performances, Australia finally saw batting prodigy Will Pucovski at the crease in the baggy green. Recording 62 runs in his first outing, his debut was nothing short of exceptional and what fans expected. 

However, his horror run with injuries continued, drawing his series to a premature close after partially dislocating his right shoulder in the field at the SCG. Despite the rotten luck, he did leave a sizeable impression for Australian Cricket fans to look forward to in the future.

Marnus Labuschagne

Matches: 4

Statistics: 426 runs. Average: 53.25. High score: 108

Grade: 9/10

Although he didn’t quite reach last season’s ‘Summer of Marnus’ level, he still came out of the series as one of Australia’s best performers, and he can only get better from here. 

Once again, Labuschagne dominated the summer with the bat, accumulating 426 runs – the highest total of the series. His two half-centuries and one century saved Australia on multiple occasions when our openers failed to stand up, proving a crucial part of the line-up. 

Steve Smith

Matches: 4

Statistics: 313 runs. Average 44.71. High score: 131

Grade: 7/10

A series of 2 halves for Steve Smith. but as the adage says, form is temporary and class is permanent.

Australia’s star batsman suffered a massive form slump at the beginning of the series, averaging an uncharacteristic 2.5 runs across the first four innings. However, in typical Steve Smith fashion, he bounced back, finding his mojo again at the SCG making 131 runs – the highest individual score of the summer. 

Following his man of the match-winning performance, he made another two half-centuries, boosting his average to 44.71, and became the second-highest run-scorer of the series, proving the doubters wrong.

Matthew Wade

Matches: 4

Statistics: 173 runs. Average: 21.62. High score: 45

Grade: 4/10

Matthew Wade began the summer shoehorned in at the top of the order, moving up to replace a wounded David Warner. 

Ironically, when opening the batting and out of position, he gave a better performance, accumulating  111 runs before being moved back down the order to number 5 to accommodate Warner’s return and Pucovski’s debut. Here, he added another 62 runs to his total. 

While his performance as an opener was solid, he took a much less pragmatic approach in the middle order, at times failing to stand up when he needed to.

Travis Head

Matches: 2

Statistics: 62 runs. Average: 20.66 off 3 innings. High score: 38

Grade: 2/10

Travis Head has a habit. A frustrating habit of starting his innings looking promising then succumbs to pressure and throws away his wicket. His vulnerabilities and poor shot selection led to him being dropped from the side to make way for Wade in the middle order. 

After an unconvincing performance, many experts are left pondering if the middle-order batsman is cut out for Tes Cricket after averaging only 20.66 runs from three innings. 

Cameron Green

Matches: 4

Statistics: 236 runs. Average: 33.71. High score: 84.

0 Wickets @ 2.68.

Grade: 6.5/10

Starting in Adelaide, the prodigious debutant’s batting grew in confidence every game, finishing as the 6th highest run-scorer for the series with 236 runs and a handy batsman when a partnership was crucial. His inning in Sydney where he let loose and made 84 runs sent waves of excitement across the nation. 

While he didn’t get a wicket to show for his performance with the ball, he certainly was one of the most economical bowlers (2.68) of the tour. Additionally, Green received plenty of praise for his superb fielding at Gully. 

Debuting Green was a step in the right direction for Australian cricket, proving his capability at test-level, with plenty more grit and fight to come from him.

Tim Paine

Matches: 4

Statistics: 204 runs. Average: 40.80. High score: 73*. 17 catches

Grade: 6/10

Of all the players in this series, none were quite as divisive as Tim Paine who had his highs and lows across all three aspects of his game.

The Australian Captain produced his most prolific series with the bat in Test cricket, scoring 204 runs and collecting the man of the match award in Adelaide.

his keeping and role as captain will come in to question over the coming weeks and months and look at where it all went wrong.

Pat Cummins 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Wickets – 21, Average: 20.04, Economy: 2.59. BBI: 4/21

Grade: 9/10

The world’s top ranked fast bowler, Pat Cummins again enhanced his reputation this summer with his impeccable consistency and determination seeing him claim man of the series honours as the leader of the Australian bowling attack. 

Cummins was a workhorse for this team throughout the series, with his ability to constantly challenge the Indian batsman and claim the big scalps, Picking up 21 wickets across the four test matches. He would always provide a spark for his team and never waiver from that uncomfortable line and length outside the off stump. 

A true bright spot in an otherwise disappointing series for the Australians, Cummins can look back and be proud of his efforts this summer. 

Mitchell Starc 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Wickets – 11, Average – 40.72, Economy – 3.27. BBI: 4/53

Grade: 2/10

Known as the X-Factor of Australia’s fast bowling cartel, it was a poor four test series for big left arm quick Mitchell Starc who’s inability to swing the ball (without a pink ball) and build pressure badly hurt the team on a number of occasions. 

After knocking over Indian opener Prithvi Shaw with the second ball of the series things seemed to go downhill quickly for Starc as the Indian batsman showed a willingness to attack his short balls and capitalize on loose deliveries. 

Renowned for his ability to take wickets and change games for his country, Starc was only able to pick up 11 scalps in this series with Tim Paine often finding it impossible to bowl him in key moments such was the wayward nature of his bowling. 

Nathan Lyon 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Wickets – 7, Average – 55.11, Economy – 2.65. BBI: 3/72

Grade: 2.5/10

It was built up to be a summer of celebration for Nathan Lyon, as Australia’s greatest ever off spinner was poised to play his 100th test and found himself within striking distance of his 400th wicket. 

However, it would turn quickly into a disastrous series for the GOAT, as the attacking mindset and bold plans of the Indian batsmen saw him become unsettled, which resulted in uncharacteristic inconsistency with his lines and lengths. 

Taking just seven wickets at an average of 55.11, the Indians were able to nullify his impact and took away his ability to build pressure from one end. 

His inability to bowl the Australians to victory on day five in both Sydney and Brisbane was also telling and will have higher powers thinking of his succession plan in the coming months. 

Nathan Lyon really struggled to find his groove this series. Image Source: cricket.com.au

Josh Hazlewood 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Wickets – 17, Average – 19.35, Economy – 2.27. BBI: 5/8

Grade: 8.5/10 

It was yet another consistently excellent summer for the ever-reliable Josh Hazlewood as he partnered pace ace Pat Cummins beautifully across all four matches. 

Starting with a blistering spell of fast bowling during India’s infamous 36 at the Adelaide Oval, Hazlewood went from strength to strength as the series progressed with many viewing him as the standout bowler of the summer. 

Claiming 17 wickets at an impeccable average of 19.35, he never let the Indian batsman get comfortable at the crease and built an excellent partnership with Cummins with his ability to build pressure. 

Rocketing into the top 5 of the ICC test bowling rankings, Hazlewood is finally getting the recognition he deserves as one of the world’s best fast bowlers.


Shubman Gill

Matches: 3

Statistics: Runs – 259. Average :51.8. High Score – 91

Grade: 7.5/10 

Coming into this Indian side for the second test match in Melbourne prodigiously talented opener Shubman Gill did not put a foot wrong with his temperament and class seeing him have an immediate impact at test level. 

Blessed with some of the most exquisite stroke play in world cricket, he made batting look easy as he went about getting his side off to critically good starts across the final three test matches. 

His innings on the final day in Brisbane showed just how exciting a prospect he is for Indian cricket, as he took it to Australia’s critically acclaimed fast bowling attack and set up a famous victory for his team striking a beautifully compiled 91. 

The sky is the limit for Gill as a test cricketer and India will be buoyed to have found themselves a long-term prospect at the top of the order. 

Prithvi Shaw 

Matches: 1

Statistics: Runs – 4. Average: 2.00. High Score – 4

Grade: 0.5/10 

It was a tour to forget for young Prithvi Shaw who despite being initially selected at the top of the order, clearly looked out of his depth against the class of Australia’s fast bowling attack. 

Clean bowled twice whilst facing a total of six balls for the series, he found himself out of the team for the second test and was carrying the drinks as his fellow countrymen went about producing one of the most incredible series victories in recent memory. 

This was without a doubt a learning experience for Shaw as he hopes to force his way back into this up and coming Indian side moving forward. 

Mayank Agarwal 

Matches: 3

Statistics: Runs – 78. Average: 13.00. High Score – 38 

Grade: 3/10

Exploding onto the scene with a pair of excellent performances in Sydney and Melbourne on India’s last tour of Australia, many had high hopes for top-order batsman Mayank Agarwal heading into the summer. 

However, he was unable to relive those triumphs of two years ago with some excellent new ball bowling by the Australian’s in the first two matches saw his technique exposed as he simply could not find any fluency in his batting. 

Combining for a lackluster 31 runs across his first four innings of the season, he would be replaced for the Sydney test by the returning Rohit Sharma only for the team’s incredible injury crisis to see him return as a middle-order player for the Brisbane decider. 

Despite putting together a solid 38 in the first innings and adapting well to the foreign role, it was overall a disappointing summer for Agarwal who now finds his position at the top of the order under serious jeopardy thanks to the emergence of Shubman Gill. 

Rohit Sharma 

Matches: 3

Statistics: Runs – 129, Average – 32.25, High Score – 52 

Grade: 6/10 

It was an unusual tour for veteran batsman Rohit Sharma as uncertainty surrounding his injured hamstring had many unsure as to whether he would have any part to play in the series. 

It would end up being a Sydney return for the aggressive opener, with his experience and class partnered with the youth of Shubman Gill instantly forming an excellent duo at the top of the order for India. 

Although he would have liked to go on with a number of his starts across the final two test matches, Rohit was able to put his team in a strong position and blunt the new ball bowling of the Australians.

Having bounced around the order at test level for the entirety of his career, this series proved he is best served as an opener and calming veteran presence at the top of the order moving forward.

Cheteshwar Pujara 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Runs – 271, Average – 33.87, High Score – 77 

Grade: 6.5/10

Leading into this series many Australian fans still found themselves scarred from the 2018/19 exploits of dogged Indian number three Cheteshwar Pujara who’s patience and determination saw him become immovable from the batting crease.

Although he didn’t have quite the same impact this time around, Pujara was able to overcome struggles in the first two test matches to become a key contributor to India’s major triumphs in Sydney and Brisbane. 

Leading his team’s brave batting efforts with scores of 56 and 77 in the fourth innings in these two matches, his ability to occupy the crease and take blow after blow from Australia’s vicious bowling attack speaks to the incredible mindset of the man who has taken over the title as “the wall” in Indian cricket. 

Ajinkya Rahane 

Matches: 4

Statistics: Runs – 268, Average: 38.28, High Score: 112

Grade: 8/10

Although it is not obvious by glancing at his statistics, this incredible series win for India balls down to the exploits of Ajinkya Rahane. 

Stepping in as captain following Kohli’s departure after the embarrassing Adelaide test match, the way he was able to galvanize this group of players was simply remarkable, with his calming presence and clever tactics quickly seeing the Indian’s begin to believe. 

His century in the first innings of the Boxing Day test was a defining moment of the series, as he announced himself as captain of this team and inspired his teammates with a knock filled with poise, grace, and determination. 

This series will be forever remembered as Rahane’s triumph and will see him go down in Indian cricket folklore.  

Virat Kohli

Matches: 1

Statistics: Runs – 78. Average: 39.00. High Score – 74 

Grade: 4/10 

Despite his limited involvement, he did manage to leave his mark on proceedings in the form of a blistering half century in the first innings with his blissful stroke play and assuredness at the crease setting up the game nicely for India. 

Having to watch his team produce arguably it’s greatest triumph from home will have without a doubt been bittersweet for the world’s third-ranked batsman, as he hopes to return with a bang for an upcoming series against England. 

Hanuma Vihari 

Matches: 3

Statistics: 72 runs. Average 18.00. High Score: 23*

Grade: 5.5/10

The hero of the Sydney rearguard found it tough to get going in the middle order this series but his exploits on this tour will be remembered not for getting bogged down, but for simply just being out there, torn hamstring and all as he and R Ashwin batted and blunted away to secure the famous draw at the SCG. A tough tour for the middle-order batsman who wouldn’t have scored the runs he would have wanted to but will be long remembered for his efforts on that final day as his defining moment of the series.

Rishabh Pant 

Matches: 3

Statistics: 274 runs. Average 68.5 High Score – 97 (8 catches/ 0 stumpings)

Grade: 9/10

While the argument may rage on as to who is the better wicketkeeper, there is zero doubt that Rishabh Pant is in India’s top 6 batsmen in any Test XI moving forward for a good while. Batted with positive intent every time he came to the wicket, constantly looking to move the game forward and take the game away from Australia.

His effort in Melbourne was paramount to India getting themselves into a commanding position before his exploits in the 4th innings’ at both the SCG and the Gabba will be remembered as two of the greatest near hundreds in the history of Indian Cricket. The hero of the day at the Gabba whose star continues to rise.

Wriddihaman Saha 

Matches: 1

Statistics: 13 runs. Average: 6.5. High Score – 9 (0 catches/ 0 stumpings)

Grade: 2/10

Only officially played 1 test match where he failed to make a contribution with the bat in both innings’. Saha also failed to take a catch in the Adelaide test which along with the mass changes, meant he lost his place in the side as Rishabh Pant was preferred.

Saha did make up for his poor day behind the stumps when he substituted in for Rishabh Pant while he was off getting treatment on his elbow, taking 4 catches. Unfortunately for Wriddiman as he was acting as a substitute fielder, those catches do not go on his official test record.

Ravindra Jadeja

Matches: 2

Statistics: 85 runs. Average: 85.00. High Score: 57

7 Wickets. Average: 15.00. Economy: 2.80

Grade: 7.5/10

Jadeja was surprisingly left out of the starting XI in Adelaide but India was quick to rectify the error in their way by selecting their star all-rounder for the Boxing Day Test where he played a significant role in achieving the win for Team India.

His all-around efforts with the bat, ball, and in the field were all on show in both Melbourne and Sydney before a thumb injury ended his tour, proving that he is one of Team India’s most important players in every format.

Washington Sundar

Matches: 1

Statistics: 84 runs. Average: 42:00. High Score: 62

4 Wickets. Average: 42.25. Economy: 3.44

Grade: 6/10

India unveiled Sundar as one of three debutants during the Brisbane test, replacing Ashwin as the spinner. He contributed with the ball in a useful manner, taking 4 wickets, three of which were in his first inning, and included Australian gun, Steve Smith. His contributions with the bat were equally as handy, Partnering with Shardul Thakur for a 123 run partnership to keep India in the game, before chasing the win with Rishabh Pant late on the Final Day in Brisbane.

Ravichandran Ashwin

Matches: 3

Statistics: 78 Runs. Average: 19.50 High Score:39*

12 Wickets. Average: 28.83. Economy: 2.57. BBI: 4/55

Grade: 8.5/10

The veteran, on his 4th trip to Australia, produced his best returns down under from the prolific off-spinner. Ashwin’s bowling was responsible for mitigating any damage caused by Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith with the bat.

The veteran spinner showed he certainly wasn’t slowing down, providing the tourists with their second-best bowling performance, both plentiful in wickets (12) and with a low economy rate (2.57). His impressive run came to a close as he too fell victim to injury after the Sydney test, missing the final match at the Gabba.

R Ashwin celebrates one of his 12 wickets this series. Image Source: cricket.com.au

Mohammad Shami

Matches: 1

Statistics: 0 Wickets, Economy: 2.41

Grade: N/A

Shami’s summer was cut short after just one inning, receiving a broken arm during their disastrous second batting inning in Adelaide. Once ruled out of the tour, he opted to return to India early with no wickets to his name, but a very healthy economy rate of 2.41.

Navdeep Saini

Matches: 2

Statistics: 4 Wickets. Average: 43.00. Economy: 4.11

Grade: 4/10

To replace an injured Umesh Yadav, Saini debuted in the Sydney Test, with his maiden wicket being fellow debutant Will Pucovski.

The right-armed paceman proved to be a more expensive option in India’s depleted bowling attack, averaging one wicket per inning with an economy rate on the higher end of the scale (4.11).

T Natarajan

Matches: 1

Statistics: 3 Wickets. Average: 39.66. Economy: 3.10. BBI: 3/78

Grade: 5/10

Natarajan wasn’t even supposed to be in the test squad. Asked to remain on tour as a net bowler, an opportunity arose for Natarajan to step in and play a Test match. completing the trifecta of debuting across all three forms of the game on this tour for the left-arm paceman.

Despite taking the lowest number of wickets (3) this test within the trio of debutants; he had the lowest economy rate (3.10). He was also the bowler to finally stop Marnus Labuschagne after he reached his only century of the summer.

Umesh Yadav

Matches: 2

Statistics: 4 Wickets. Average: 33.25. Economy: 3.35. BBI: 3/40

Yadav was preferred to Mohamed Siraj for the first Test because of his extra pace and experience in Australian conditions. while he struggled to pick up consistent wickets as he did in the warm-up games,

while he was slightly expensive in the matches he played, his role as the enforcer in this Indian attack was important to allow the other Indian seamers to trouble the Australian Batsmen.

Shardul Thakur

Matches: 1

Statistics: 7 Wickets. Average: 22.14. Economy: 3.60

Grade: 6/10

in just his second test match after only lasting 12 deliveries in his first more than 2 years ago, Shardul Thakur took 7 wickets across both innings’ at the Gabba.

The right armer thrived on the Gabba pitch and had the ability to break partnerships that looked like they were settled. Not only did he break down partnerships, but he could also build them. He and Washington Sundar joined forces as they fought back against an inconsistent Australian bowling attack, making 67 runs of his own in a vital stand in India’s first innings.

Jasprit Bumrah

Matches: 3

Statistics: 11 Wickets. Average 29.36. Economy: 2.74. BBI: 4/56

Grade: 8/10

Despite only being 17 tests into his career, with the omissions of mentors Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, the superstar took charge of an inexperienced bowling attack. 

His unorthodox, yet effective bowling style and his prowess, was a given across his glittering early career but not many had seen or acknowledged his exceptional leadership within the Indian bowling group, a necessity as India’s injury woes grew exponentially. 

He scored himself 11 wickets while taking on this new leadership position before succumbing to India’s injury curse.

Mohammad Siraj

Matches: 3

Statistics: 13 Wickets. Average: 29.53. Economy: 2.85. BBI: 5/73

Grade: 9/10

While India found and discovered many great things on thier tour down under, the emergence of Mohamed Siraj is one of the stories of the summer.

Siraj’s series was by no means smooth sailing, dealing with not only the grief of losing his father before the series’ commencement but alleged racial taunts from the SCG and Gabba crowds. 

He stood up and took charge of a severely inexperienced and undermanned bowling attack, especially during the Brisbane test where all of the bowlers had a combined 8 matches worth of experience. His mature approach and hard work paid off as got his first five-wicket haul in the final test and finished with 13 wickets and as India’s top wicket-taker. 

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