Dealt a solid blow in series opener, how India bounced back to trump Australia
Virat Kohli's boys ensured that the panic button was not pressed after the Mumbai mauling. By the time the series ended, India established their upper hand, courtesy of intelligent and all-round outings.
All the bookmakers favoured India before the beginning of the three-match ODI series between the two sides. And, it was understandable as well.
Both teams had blown away oppositions in home conditions and were almost at par with each other on paper. Given that India were playing in their home conditions, they certainly had an edge. Even Australian pacer Kane Richardson conceded before the series opener that Australia are prepared but were still underdogs.
The Mumbai mauling
The series began with the Mumbai ODI and within a few hours, it became clear that India would have to be at their best in order to come anywhere close to winning. The team had started well with a 100 + partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul for the second wicket, but the Australian bowlers soon took control of the proceedings.
There was hardly a bad ball for India to take advantage of with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson going for wickets with each ball and spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa playing the perfect foil.
In reply, David Warner and Aaron Finch not only pocketed that game comprehensively by 10 wickets with more than 12 overs to spare, but also did enough damage to earn a psychological advantage over their opponents throughout the series.
Warner, after the first game, emphasised on laying the marker. The Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation responded with a confident appeal of not pressing the panic button.
The Rajkot pull back
Kohli's boys put his words into action in the second match in Rajkot. Just like the first ODI, India were put into bat by Australia, something which they do not particularly enjoy.
While The Men in Blue are one of the best in the business when it comes to chasing, they are uncertain of the tempo required when batting first and often fall short of the required total.
However, courtesy of breezy knocks from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and particularly KL Rahul this was not the case in the second ODI as India put up 340 runs on the board. The bowlers, who were lackluster in the first match, backed the the batsmen strongly, with the wickets being shared between Mohammad Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.
The Bengaluru knockout punch
It was now time for the series decider. It wasn't an easy deal for both teams as there was just a gap of one day due to the broadcasting compulsions, with the teams having to travel a fair bit - from western India in Gujarat's Rajkot to Southern India in Karnataka's Bengaluru.
8 out of 10 times, the skipper winning the toss would have chosen to bowl on a great chasing M.Chinnaswamy ground. But, Finch did the opposite.
Mumbai: Australia win by ?? wickets— ICC (@ICC) January 19, 2020
Rajkot: India win by 3??6?? runs
Bengaluru: India win by 7?? wickets
End of an exciting, closely-contested series ?? pic.twitter.com/50Osme93Kv
It was perhaps the hangover of the last match when Australia were behind the eight-ball in most of the game having put India into bat first. Australia decided to take the situation head on and put runs on the board to put the hosts under pressure.
However, that was not to be.
With some assistance from the pitch, Shami removed David Warner early. Despite Steve Smith scoring a 132-ball 131, ably assisted by Marnus Labuschagne's maiden ODI half-century, Australia did not accelerate at the right moment. When they finally made a desperate attempt, it was already too late.
The result was that they lost wickets in clumps, with Mohammad Shami accounting for a 4-fer. Australia only managing 286, they were a good 30 runs short of the desirable total.
India approached the chase one batsman short, with Shikhar Dhawan having injured his shoulder while fielding. But, the maturity with which Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli added 137 runs together ensured that the team was only one down till the 36th over and panic did not set in. With a 7-wicket win, India bagged the series 2-1.
Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, Australia's premium pacers, seemed to have run out of gas by the end. Frankly, it was not surprising. Both having played some serious amount of cricket in the last year, desperately need a break.
The turnaround in the series was brought about by India's experience in the batting order, particularly by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. With the bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah back, he was miserly in the last two games and formed a formidable pair with Mohammad Shami. Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja also did a fine job of restricting the opposition.
Having lost the ODI series the last time Australia toured India, the hosts reclaimed their dominant record at home and some of their hurt pride after an embarrassing series opener.
Here were the squads of both teams:
India Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Rishabh Pant (WK), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav
Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (C), Alex Carey (VC & WK), Pat Cummins (VC), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
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