5 standout Test Performances in 2018
With the conclusion of Boxing Day Tests played in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, the calendar year 2018 came to an end. The year-end is the time when one would like to look back at the moments and memories of the year passed by. For the cricketing world, 2018 was an eventful year. It had a good mix of glories and disappointments.
The year started with the continuance of Australian dominance over the down under part of the Ashes. But the joy was short-lived for the Kangaroos as the "Sandpaper Gate" hit them hard during their tour of South Africa during the earlier part of the year. The high drama ended up with a year-long ban of Steven Smith, David Warner and nine months ban for Cameron Bancroft who confessed their involvement in the shameful act of tampering the ball.
India, the World No. 1 side in Tests, continued to struggle in overseas conditions for the most part of the year, losing the series in South Africa and England. But their performance has been better down under where they are leading the series 2-1 against Australia at the end of 2018 with one more Test to play in January 2019.
New Zealand was the best team among all the Test playing nations in 2018 where they extended their series winning streak to four which they have done for the first time. They even improved their performance in Asia by winning an away series against Pakistan after 49 years. They even climbed to No. 3 in ICC Test rankings.
England after going winless for the first five months, improved their show in the second half by winning their home series against India. They followed it up with a great performance in Sri-Lanka by winning the series in island nation after 17 years.
It was the year when Zimbabwe registered their first away Test victory after 18 years when most of the other touring nations struggled in away conditions. One time heavyweights Sri Lankans even struggled to win at home.
2018 was the year in which the batsman struggled playing the red ball as the bowlers dominated the longer version. Most of the times it was an individual brilliance with the bat that saved the day for the teams.
This article brings five such individual performances of the year 2018. The criteria for the selection are - performances in both the innings, challenging conditions, impact on the match/series and the resulting effect on the performer himself.