Virat Kohli scored 655 runs at a staggering average of 109 in the five Test series. He was undoubtedly​,​ and by some margin, the most prolific batsman. It is not surprising then, that he emerges as the highest impact batsman of the series. He was also the only Indian batsman to register a series-defining performance ( SD ) for his consistency and high impact performances in Visakhapatnam and Mumbai.

But the adage ‘bowlers win Test matches’ held true here too, and it is not surprising that Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin – who ​combined to take 54 of the 93 English wickets that fell in the series – emerge higher impact than Kohli. While Ashwin displayed a better propensity to pick top/middle-order wickets, it was Jadeja’s exceptional​ly restrictive bowling which gave him a higher impact than the off-spinner​ despite taking two fewer wickets​.​ The left-armer did not fail in the series either. ​

​Still, neither was the highest impact player of the series.

That ​honour ​went to the series debutant Jayant Yadav​, for his all-round performance​.

​Jayant scored just 221 runs and picked up just 9 wickets in the three Tests ​that ​he played in. ​From a conventional perspective, this ​​appears to be a decent performance, but not worthy of being the best. However, when we see his contribution as a whole​ – and analyse the timing and context of his runs and wickets​ -​ the real picture emerges​, starting with the fact that India won all three Tests in which Jayant played. ​Tellingly, he did not fail even once while Kohli and Ashwin failed in Chennai.

Second Test, Visakhapatnam: ​Jayant scored 35 and 27 (from 151 for 7) and picked up 4 wickets in the match.

Third Test, Mohali: ​Jayant ​first ​picked up the wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (the highest scorer of the innings)​ and l​ater, with the bat, ​​he joined Jadeja at the crease​ when​ India were 301 for 7 ​(​in reply to England’s 283​). The​ pair ​proceeded to take the match away from England​,​ putting together an 80-run stand for the eighth wicket. Jayant scored 55 as India went past 400. He then picked up two crucial top​/​middle​-​order wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler.

Fourth Test, Mumbai: Jayant came out to bat at 364 for 7 (India were still 36 behind England’s first innings score of 400). He partnered Kohli and took the match away from England​ again,​ as the pair ​shared a 241​-​run stand for the eighth wicket. ​Jayant ​registered his maiden ton (104)​ and​ India amassed 631. ​He then picked up the wicket of Joe Root – the best English batsman and the top-scorer of the innings ​- ​breaking a 92​-​run partnership between ​Root and Bairstow​,​ ​following which the opposition collapsed​​.

As batsman, Jayant had the second-highest impact in the series​​ ​- behind Kohli. He scored the maximum proportion of runs and displayed the best ability to build partnerships and absorb pressure (of falling wickets), again behind Kohli. ​

As bowler, ​Jayant picked up wickets of ​key English batsmen (Joe Root twice in the series) at crucial junctures in the match.

Jayant Yadav registered a series-defining performance ( SD ) for his high impact performances in Mohali and Mumbai, and overall consistency . ​This was, therefore, ​​an all-round effort thoroughly deserving its place​ -​ especially considering it came in ​his debut series.

 

Nikhil Narain