Australia’s quest for a first Test series in India in 19 years will go on until at least until 2027 after the hosts retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for a fourth consecutive time.
The Aussies arrived in India as the world’s No1-ranked Test team but any hopes of emulating the class of 2004 vanished within six days of cricket.
Vanquished by an innings and 132 runs in Nagpur in the opening Test after losing 10 wickets in a single session in their second dig, Australia managed to lose nine in the same session in Delhi as they crumbled to a six-wicket loss.
The tourists quelled fears of a whitewash with a famous nine-wicket win on a rank turner in Indore, becoming only the third team to win a Test in India in the last decade.
A relatively dull draw in the final Test in Ahmedabad was made memorable by Usman Khawaja’s stunning 180 and by Cameron Green’s maiden Test century.
India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the fourth consecutive time after beating Australia 2-1 on Monday
Australia stand-in skipper Steve Smith and India captain Rohit Sharma (right) shook hands as the fourth Test in Ahmedabad ended in a draw
The Aussies sealed a famous nine-wicket win in the third Test in Indore last week
It wasn’t enough for Australia to become the first team to avoid a series loss in India since England in 2012, but their win in Indore sealed their spot in the World Test Championship final at The Oval in June.
Their opponent? But why, India of course.
Here, Daily Mail Australia rates and slates the tourists after four rollercoaster Tests over six engrossing weeks.
David Warner – 1
Positive omens were few and far between as Warner arrived in India having passed 50 just twice in his previous 21 innings.
Any residual hope his gritty double-ton at the MCG would mark the start of a resurgence evaporated within five balls of the first Test, as Mohammed Shami rearranged his off-stump.
Warner’s return of 1, 10 and 15 only succeeded in lowering his already paltry 24.25 average in India, before a concussion and a fractured elbow prematurely ended his series after the second Test.
The veteran opener has insisted he wants to play in The Ashes, but he averages a modest 26.04 in 25 innings in England and that decision may no longer be up to him.
David Warner career is in danger of petering out after the veteran opener made just 26 runs in three innings before departing with a fractured elbow
Usman Khawaja – 9
Khawaja peeled off 333 runs at an average of 47.57 to finish top as the top run-scorer in the series.
The epic, 10-hour marathon 180 in Ahmedabad rightly earned plenty of headlines but, given the circumstances, his 60 in the first innings in Indore was just as crucial as it set up the platform for a famous win.
Arguably Australia’s player of the series, Khawaja has now scored six centuries since being recalled to Test side two years ago. Which begs the question as to why he was dropped to begin with.
Usman Khawaja was arguably Australia’s player of the series, scoring 333 runs at 47.57
Marnus Labuschagne – 6
That Labuschangne only 50 of the series arrived in the second innings of the final Test says as much about his performances over the past month than it does about the pitches in India.
Got off to good starts in Nagpur and Delhi but couldn’t capitalise as Indian spinners repeatedly had his number. He will undoubtedly have learnt some valuable lessons ahead of his next series in India.
Travis Head – 8
Australia may already have a ready-made replacement for David Warner in Travis Head. Surprisingly omitted for the opening Test in Nagpur, the South Australian replaced Warner at the top of the order in the second innings in Delhi and never looked back.
His 43 off 46 deliveries on a turning pitch showed the kind of composure and purpose that deserted his teammates, while his unbeaten 49 in the second innings in Indore sealed Australia’s only win of the series.
Fell just short of a deserved ton in Ahmedabad but has made himself almost undroppable.
Travis Head batted brilliantly after being recalled into the team for the second Test
Steve Smith – 5.5
Smith’s series can be split in two. He dropped an easy catch in the first innings of the second Test and was bamboozled into playing an ill-advised sweep shot by Ravindra Jadeja, which by his own admission left him furious.
But he grew into the series and was brilliant as stand-in captain for Pat Cummins in the final two Tests, taking an all-time great catch to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara in Indore.
For the first time in his career, however, Smith failed to make a half century in a Test series in which he played at least three innings, finishing with a high score of 38 and 145 runs at 29.
His 2017 heroics with the bat when he peeled off three tons in India were a distant memory and he’s unlikely to be part of the 2027 tour.
Cameron Green 7.5
Green’s 21 in the first innings in Indore was far more assured than the crude numbers suggest and he then made the most of the wicket in Ahmedabad, compiling a wonderful maiden Test ton.
He bowled just 20 overs and went for 104 runs at 5.20, but Indian wickets are notoriously hostile to seamers. One wonders how the series may have panned out had he been fit for the first two Tests.
Cameron Green made a maiden Test ton in Ahmedabad after missing the first two matches
Peter Handscomb – 5.5
Handscomb showed resilience and composure in making superb 72 not out on a tricky deck in the first innings in Delhi, despite a frustrating lack of support.
He failed to cash in on a batter-friendly surface in the fourth Test and finished the series with 145 runs at 29.
Matt Renshaw – 1
Making his return to the Test arena after six years, the Queenslander didn’t exactly seize his opportunity.
Dropped after making 0 and 2 in Nagpur, Renshaw was back in the team for the second innings in Delhi as concussion substitute for Warner, only to be trapped LBW for 2 by Ravi Ashwin.
Omitted for the final two matches, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that his Test career may have reached its end.
Matt Renshaw scored just four runs in three innings in his first return to Test cricket in six years
Alex Carey – 6.5
A mixed bag of a series for the wicket-keeper, whose sterling glovework was tarnished by a dearth of runs.
Carey finished with four catches and two stumpings, but made just 56 runs at an average of 9.33. It was a particularly disappointing return given his brisk 36 in the opening Test in Nagpur had hinted at a far bigger contribution.
Nathan Lyon – 8.5
If it wasn’t for Khawaja, Lyon would have a legitimate claim to be Australia’s man of the series.
After an indifferent start in Nagpur, Australia’s star spinner took seven wickets in Delhi and then ripped through India’s batting line-up to take 11 in the match as the tourists sealed a famous nine-wicket in Indore.
Lyon finished with 22 wickets at 22.36 apiece and now has more wickets in India than any other Australian bowler in history.
Nathan Lyon claimed 22 wickets in the series, half of which came in Indore in the third Test
Todd Murphy – 8
If Lyon is still the present of Australian spin, Murphy showed over the past four weeks why he may well be the future.
The bespectacled Victorian finished with 14 wickets at 25.21, which included a stunning seven-wicket haul on debut in Nagpur.
Murphy’s cricket intelligence belies his 22-year-old as Virat Kohli found out four times throughout the series. Test cricket will be seeing plenty more of him in the future.
Todd Murphy impressed in his first Test series, finishing with 14 wickets at 25.21
Matt Kuhnemann – 7
A surprise inclusion in the team after Australia capitulated in the opening Test, Kuhnemann acquainted himself well in notoriously difficult conditions for left-arm spinners.
The Queenslander finished with nine wickets at 31.11 and provided more than adequate support to Lyon and Murphy.
His chances to impress at home, however, may be limited as it’s hard to envisage Australia picking an attack containing three spinners anywhere bar India and Pakistan.
Pat Cummins – 4.5
Cricket was sadly mere an afterthought for Cummins as returned to Sydney after the second Test to be with his gravely ill mother Maria, who died on Friday.
Prior to returning to Australia, Cummins had come under fire for some uncharacteristically undecisive captaincy.
He bowled just 13 overs in the first innings of the second Test as India recovered from 4-87 at lunch and 7-139 in the second session to 262 and didn’t bowl at all in the second dig.
He finished with three wickets in two innings at 39.66.
Pat Cummins struggled throughout the first two Test matches before returning to Australia to be with his gravely ill mother Maria, who passed away last week
Scott Boland – 3
It’s hard to judge Boland’s series, as he bowled just 17 overs in the first Test in Nagpur and then watched from the sidelines as Australia opted for a spin-heavy attack.
Kept it tight but rarely looked threatening when he bowled.
Mitchell Starc – 4.5
Like Green, Starc would have started the first two Tests had he been fit.
Unlike his younger colleague, however, he had a limited impact in the two matches he played, claiming just two wickets in three innings at a very expensive average of 66.
Admittedly, the surfaces in Indore and Ahmedabad did little to help him.