As the year comes to a close, here’s a look at some brilliant performances by Indians during the course of the year
MS Dhoni: 224 vs Australia at Chennai
The Indian skipper has a lot to prove in alien conditions, but at least at home he remains a match-winner. This was evident when he smashed a double hundred against a hapless Aussie attack early in the year. Australia batted first in the Test and compiled a challenging 380 courtesy skipper Michael Clarke’s hundred. Batting at number six however, the Indian skipper took the Aussie bowling to the cleaners. His 224 was registered off only 265 balls with 24 fours and as many as six sixes. Dhoni’s onslaught took India to 572 and the Aussies eventually succumbed to an 8-wicket loss.
Shikhar Dhawan 187 vs Australia at Mohali
There has never been a more sensational debut by a batsman in Test cricket. In his very first Test innings, Dhawan walked in after Australia had posted a 400 plus score on the board. He must have been under pressure for sure; Dhawan did not show any. Right from the start, he attacked the Aussie bowlers, and before people could even realise, Dhawan was well on his way to one of the greatest Test knocks, which stunned the opposition into submission. For the record, the left-hander smashed 187 from 174 balls with 33 fours and 2 sixes. It was the fastest ton in Test cricket on debut, and the highest by an Indian. A shocked Australia went down by six wickets.
Rohit Sharma: 177 vs West Indies at Kolkata
In the first Test of the series arranged for Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell, his younger Mumbai teammate stole the show. Rohit had waited for more than half a decade to make his five-day debut. And, even if the opponent was a weak one, the Windies, the performance was memorable without doubt. After India bowled out West Indies for 234, they were in trouble at 83 for 5. Rohit then rescued the side with a composed 177 from 301 balls in the company of R. Ashwin, who also compiled a hundred. Rohit’s hundred featured 23 fours and one six, as India replied with 453 and went on to win the Test by an innings and 51 runs.
Ishant Sharma: 4 for 79 vs South Africa at Johannesburg
The first Test against South Africa was significant for the fast bowler in many ways. Pundits had questioned his selection for the series in the first place following the fact that he had underperformed for more than a year. But, Sharma ensured that he did not waste the chance at Johannesburg. Having been bowled out for 280, India were in trouble as South Africa raced to 130 for 1, but Ishant hit back by dismissing Amla and Kallis off consecutive balls. He had earlier dismissed Petersen and added the scalp of Steyn towards the end to finish with figures of 4 for 79 in the drawn game.
Virat Kohli: 119 vs South Africa at Johannesburg
There were questions being asked about Kohli’s technique away from home, but he proved critics wrong with a magnificent effort century on day one of the series. Kohli showed he had a temperament as well as the technique to succeed in all conditions. His 119 came off 181 balls with 18 fours. Kohli only won more admirers following the excellent performance.
--By A Cricket Analyst