Steve Smith (313 at 44.71)
After a slow start against a high-class attack which had done its homework, the champion batsman rediscovered his best in the new year. Admittedly, India’s best bowlers were injured by then but Smith was rewarded for a more attacking mindset.
Matthew Wade (173 at 21.62)
What could have been for the Tasmanian, whose ordinary numbers are more a reflection of his poor shot selection than a player who was out of form. If he had turned one of his 30s and 40s into a big hundred his place in the side would not be in question. He now faces a nervous wait.
Cameron Green (236 at 33.71, no wickets)
Arrived on the scene with a big reputation and though he did not dominate with bat or ball there was plenty to like from the young all-rounder. He showed fight with the bat though needs to rotate the strike better, and failed to take a wicket but kept the run rate low while giving the frontline quicks a rest.
Tim Paine (204 at 40.8, 17 catches)
The captain is in close to career-best form with the bat but his glovework was down from his usual exemplary standards, and he let himself down with a highly publicised blue in Sydney. Selectors have said they judge him on the latter two departments, with runs a bonus. Many will now ask if he’s still the best man for the job.
Pat Cummins (21 wickets at 20.04)
The golden boy of Australian cricket enhanced his reputation with a stellar series, finishing as the leading wicket-taker. Whenever a breakthrough was needed, Cummins was the man his skipper turned to – and he seldom let his team down. Instrumental to their win in Adelaide, he was also the reason why Cheteshwar Pujara was so subdued.
Mitchell Starc (11 wickets at 40.72)
The speedster started with a bang but ran out of puff when the whips were cracking. His powers blunted in Sydney, Starc was a spent force by the time he arrived at the venue best suited to his game. He remains a key member of the attack but selectors need to reassess how to maximise his impact.
Nathan Lyon (9 wickets at 55.11)
This was supposed to be a summer of celebration for the man dubbed the GOAT but he was kept quiet by an Indian line-up which revels against spin. Lacking his usual fizz and drift, Lyon was also inconsistent with his length, unable to bring his drop and bounce into play.
Josh Hazlewood (17 wickets at 19.35)
Excellent series by Australia’s Mr Dependable, whose figures of 5/8 in Adelaide will go down in this country’s cricket folklore like Curtly Ambrose’s 7/1 from 1992/93. The Bendemeer bullet fires out specialist batsmen, the bulk of his wickets coming from India’s top six.
Joe Burns (63 at 21)
Fortunate to be picked after a horror start to the summer, the opener could not turn it around despite a junk time unbeaten half-century in Adelaide. Never say never but the 31-year-old needs a mountain of runs in the Shield to get another turn in the baggy green.
Will Pucovski (72 at 36)
Undaunted on debut, the celebrated youngster played the type of innings which explains why good judges believe he will be a 10-year player. Will he continue as an opener or be given the chance to settle in at five? He’ll need a better run with injuries, of course.
Travis Head (62 at 20.66)
His supporters will say he was unlucky to lose his place but he did himself no favours with some soft dismissals. Selectors have invested too much into the South Australian to give up now but after 19 Tests it’s time for him to deliver on his potential.
Rohit Sharma (129 at 32.25)
The tourists really missed his dash at the top of the order through injury and quarantine issues in Adelaide and Melbourne, although he typically frustrated upon returning in Sydney. Scores of 26 and 52 at the SCG and 44 and 7 in Brisbane highlighted why he remains somewhat of a red-ball enigma.
Shubman Gill (259 at 51.8)
One of the great finds for the tourists, having debuted in Melbourne with returns of 45 and 35 not out and he impressed through the rest of the series. He has an unusual technique in that he opts to show his stumps when taking guard but he has a lovely flourish through the off-side and regularly finds the boundary. We can expect to see much more of the 21-year-old from Punjab.
Cheteshwar Pujara (271 runs at 33.87)
The batting wall played one of the more remarkable innings on Tuesday to ensure the tourists saved the series. He finished this trip as India’s leading run scorer although his snail-like scoring rate of 29.2 was an issue for, at times through the series, it put his teammates under immense pressure. However, his defiance could not be questioned.
Ajinkya Rahane v/c (268 at 38.28)
Took charge when Virat Kohli left after Adelaide and his unassuming way was quickly embraced by his teammates. A match-winning century in Melbourne conjured one of the greatest wins in India’s Test history, and his general plans and field placings through three Tests were impeccable and gave him bonus ratings points.
Mayank Agarwal (78 runs at 13)
Was unable to get going through the series. Opened the batting in Adelaide and Melbourne but managed only 17, 9, 0 and 5 and was axed. Returned in Brisbane in the middle order and looked more at crease in the middle order. A first-innings 38 was important but he couldn’t handle the pressure late on Tuesday.
Rishabh Pant (274 at 68.5)
Provided the two most most entertaining innings of the series. There was his free-flowing 97 in Sydney which threatened to drag the visitors to victory, and he went one better in Brisbane with an unbeaten 89 which willed his side to a series win. Is now one of the game’s most exciting strokemakers. His glovework was tidy through the series.
Shardul Thakur (7 wickets at 22.14)
Was one of the reinforcements drafted in at the Gabba. In only his second Test, had a match to remember, claiming 3-94 and 4-61. In another show of defiance, he contributed 67 with the bat – leaping off the mark with a six – in India’s first innings.
Washington Sundar (4 wickets at 42.25)
Replaced the injured Ravi Ashwin in Brisbane and had an immediate impact when he had Steve Smith snapped up at short mid wicket. Finished with 3-89 off 31 overs and claimed David Warner just as he threatened in the second. His 62 in India’s first innings gave the tourists momentum. At 21, he shapes as Ashwin’s successor.
Mohammed Siraj (13 wickets at 29.53)
Another one of the great stories – and finds – of the tour. Was told his father had died just after arriving in Australia but opted to remain on tour. Debuted in Melbourne and had an immediate impact with his pace and bounce. This culminated in Brisbane with a maiden five-wicket haul in Australia’s second innings.
Thangarasu Natarajan (3 wickets at 39.66)
A swathe of injuries handed the Tamil Nadu left-armer his Test debut in Brisbane – and he did not disappoint. There were three first-innings wickets and while it was more of a battle in the second, his future appears bright.
Navdeep Saini (4 wickets at 43)
Debuted in Sydney and claimed four wickets for the match, including Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne, but was added to injury curse in Brisbane when he pulled up lame with a groin injury in his eighth over of the first innings. Returned for five overs in the second but again was wicketless.
Virat Kohli (c) (78 runs at 39)
Was available for only the opening Test – contributing 74 in the first innings of an eight-wicket loss – before returning home for the birth of his first child. That his side continued to fight so well in his absence reinforced how robust a culture Kohli has implemented.
Mohammed Shami (0 wickets)
The veteran seamer was to be a key cog of India’s assault but he was wicketless in Adelaide where his series was abruptly ended by a rising Pat Cummins delivery which broke his arm.
Ravichandran Ashwin (12 wickets at 28.83)
Banished the memories of past failures here with an impressive 12 wickets at 28.83, overshadowing Australian counterpart, Nathan Lyon. Set tone for India’s fight by dislodging Steve Smith three times. His unbeaten 39 off 128 deliveries in Sydney, complete with a bad back, was one of the finest rearguard knocks. Missed Brisbane because of injury.
Jasprit Bumrah (11 wickets at 29.36)
Was a steady threat without ever tearing through the hosts. His 4-56 in the first innings of Melbourne set the platform, and his dismissal of Joe Burns in the second ended the Queenslander’s Test career. An abdominal strain in Sydney ended his series.
Wriddhiman Saha (13 runs at 6.5)
Was given the gloves in Adelaide but struggled behind the stumps and with the bat, making nine and four, before he was replaced by Rishabh Pant.
Hanuma Vihari (72 runs at 18)
The tourists had hoped Vihari would add dash through the middle order but it was his courageous, defiant hand in the second innings in Sydney that he will be remembered for. Unable to run because of a hamstring tear, he soaked up 161 deliveries in an unbeaten 23 to force a draw. Missed Brisbane and finished with only 72 runs at 18 through five innings.
Umesh Yadav (4 wickets at 33.25)
Was part of the first-choice attack in Adelaide and claimed three first-innings wickets. Went wicketless in the first innings in Melbourne and broke down with a calf strain in the second, ending his series.
Prithvi Shaw (4 runs at 2)
The emerging 21-year-old shaped as an x-factor at the top of the order but that hope ended when scores of 0 and 4 – bowled by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins respectively – ended his campaign after the Adelaide Test.
Ravindra Jadeja (7 wickets at 15; 85 runs at 85)
The spinning allrounder had an important role to play in the win in Melbourne and draw in Sydney. His 57 at the MCG was crucial in building a first-innings lead while his 4-62 in the first innings in Sydney, not to mention a brilliant run out of Steve Smith, halted the home side.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald