India have stopped South Africa's amazing test record away from home with a 3-0 series win which has ended the Proteas' unbeaten record of nine years. To be fair to the South Africans, they lost Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander early in the series, leaving a huge void to fill in the bowling department.
The batting line-up was not the most experienced when you compare it to the previous teams. The likes of Dane Vilas, Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar have played a collective total of only 31 tests. But Virat Kohli and co still have a few unanswered questions about the team composition, which needs to be solved before they can become a formidable test side.
The Second Opener
Shikhar Dhawan's away form is a cause for concern for India. His scores in this series were 0, 0, 45*, 12, 39, 33 and 21. His last two centuries came in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which are not alien conditions to an Indian batsman.
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It's these barren patches between big scores which hamper his reputation. Even though the next away series for India is a limited-overs series in Australia, a strong showing against the world champions may give him the boost required to perform in the longer format.
Rohit Sharma’s Form
Probably the most mystifying case in Indian cricket is Rohit Sharma. A person with his talent shouldn’t have played only 19 tests. His selection in the last two tests against South Africa is simply because he scored a century for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.
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With an average of 26.45 in away tests and failures in the recently concluded series, Sharma may find his place in the starting XI coming under stern examination.
The Third Seamer
Umesh Yadav has established himself as the first choice bowler and it looks like he can be India’s spearhead in the coming year. His performance of two for 39 and three for nine in the last test pleased many fans and it appears he may have found form at the right time.
Ishant Sharma may not have been amongst the wickets in this series, but his rhythm was good. India’s problem lies in the third seamer, Varun Arron who is quick, but that’s about it.
His consistency has never been great and he regularly concedes too many runs with his wayward bowling. Mohammed Shami has a good record, but his fitness has always been under the spotlight and has hindered him in the past.
His last international match was against Australia in the World Cup semi-finals which the Aussies won by 95 runs. His return could be crucial for India if they are to start progressing once again in both formats of the game.
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