As forecast by a wide section of supporters, Australia pulled off a sensational series victory, 3-2 beating India by 35 runs in the final of the five ODIs at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Wednesday.
In more than one sense, it was a historic and shining milestone in the annals of Aussie cricket which has several chapters in letters of gold.
Few teams in contemporary cricket has this distinction of recovering from a 0-2 deficit to wrap up the series and the trophy by three consecutive victories for a 3-2 result.
At the end of a long and gruelling series of matches both at home and in here, Australia has turned the corner regaining a lot of its reputation in time for the next World Cup in England this summer.
Aaron Finch and his team deserve unstinted appreciation of every enthusiast for the manner in which they reconstructed a fascinating chapter of their cricket folklore.
They displayed perseverance, pugnacity, proficiency and professionalism to wade through their adversities with self confidence and fighting spirit. While their bowling headed by the hard-working Pat Cummins was consistent the batting department revealed several chinks.
But steadily the top order recovered well led by the well-endowed Usman Khawaja midway through the series. He scored two brilliant centuries, the second one came yesterday in the final at the appropriate time. He scored exactly 100 in 106 balls with ten 4s and two 6s and gave good start to the final with Finch. With Handscomb he added 101 runs for the second wicket and the Aussies managed to construct a total of 272 runs for nine wickets in 50 overs.
It was not an imposing total by any stretch of imagination but good enough to make a fight. And that is what the Aussies did eventually.
The reverse for the home team will definitely evoke a lot of doubts and criticism. It is distressing to note the result after the two successful tours of Australia and New Zealand not long ago. Many thought that the answers were found to solve several problem areas especially in the area of pace bowling. But now there is need for a re-thinking about the whole composition of the team for the World Cup. The selectors were claiming that barring a spot of two, the team for the WC is ready.
Barring Rohit Sharma none of the batsmen showed any measure of skill to stick on. The Aussie pacemen, Cummins, Richardson, and Stoinis controlled the trend with their accuracy and pace, spinner Zampa maintained fine length and line to capture three wickets.
The late resistance from Jadhav and Bhuneshwar Kumar was lively but not good enough to turn the fortunes. The run rate required widened over after over and the innings folded shortly amidst ecstasy for the visiting team.
“ It is unbelievable. The resilience and the fight we showed was incredible” commented the Aussie skipper Finch after the historic win.
“The guys will reflect on the series quite a bit,” said Kohli who felt that the team had conceded 10 or 15 runs more.
Usman Khawaja, who was declared as the Man of the Match and Man of the series, said “It’s a lot of fun scoring hundreds and even more fun winning the game…. Its never easy to beat India at home.”