The Australian cricket team finally broke their terrible run in ODIs by winning their first bilateral series since 2017 with a win against India. (Image credit: BCCI Twitter)
Just before the start of the five-match ODI series, the Australian cricket team had an intense training session in Vizag. Justin Langer, the coach, had ensured a grueling training regime as they headed into the contest against India as the underdogs. Australia had not won an ODI series since 2017 and their rut in India was in place since 2009. Australia had also lost a bilateral ODI series at home against Virat Kohli’s side for the first time ever. In conditions where they have struggled for the last decade, it was meant to be another formality for Kohli’s side, who had won a series in New Zealand after 10 years to top off their historic Australia campaign.
However, by sheer determination and a combination of inspiration and bloody mindedness, Australia broke their limited-overs jinx in India in grand style. They won the two-match Twenty20 International series 2-0 and that gave them confidence. After losing the first two ODIs, they staged a remarkable recovery and won the next three to win a five-match series for the first time in their history after being 0-2 down. They tackled spin, countered swing and reverse swing and managed to score off India’s best bowler in the death overs to script a remarkable turnaround.
Here is a story of how Australia turned their fortunes around in India
Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni shared a brilliant partnership to give India a convincing win.
1) Kedar and Dhoni blow Australia away, 1st ODI Hyderabad
Australia were high on confidence, having swept India 2-0 in the T20I series. In the first ODI, only Usman Khawaja had shown some grit as Australia reached 236/7. In response, they reduced the hosts to 99/4 but it took a magical partnership of 141 between Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni to rescue India. Jadhav made an aggressive 81 and Dhoni, battling cramps, managed to score his fourth consecutive fifty against Australia as India romped home by six wickets.
Vijay Shankar took two wickets to help India win the Nagpur ODI by eight runs and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
2) Australia’s pain in Jamtha prolonged, 2nd ODI Nagpur
On a sluggish pitch, Virat Kohli showed that he is the ultimate master in ODIs and India notched up 250. In response, Australia lost wickets at regular intervals and it needed a solid knock from Marcus Stoinis to stay in the hunt. Stoinis negotiated Jasprit Bumrah well and Australia needed 11 runs in the final over with two wickets remaining. India had bowled their best bowlers and the job of bowling the final over was given to Vijay Shankar, who was hit for 13 runs in his only over earlier. However, Shankar removed Stoinis for 52 and cleaned up Adam Zampa as Australia lost by eight runs.
Usman Khawaja struck his maiden century as Australia won the Ranchi ODI despite Virat Kohli's 41st century.
3) Usman Khawaja sparks turnaround, 3rd ODI Ranchi
The game was already in the news for the decision of the Indian cricket team to sport army-style caps in a tribute to the armed forces. In such a situation, Australia’s seeds of transformation were sown. The batting finally came good and Khawaja slammed a century and shared a 193-run stand for the opening wicket. A good cameo from Glenn Maxwell helped Australia reach 313/5. Once again, Kohli was at his best with a sublime 41st century but Australia’s bowlers operated like a well-oiled unit and chipped away. In the end, even Kohli’s brilliance could not halt Australia’s march to a win.
Ashton Turner slammed 84 off 43 balls and India failed to defend 358 in the Mohali ODI as Australia tied the series.
4) Australia do the dew, 4th ODI Mohali
Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 16th century in Mohali and Rohit Sharma’s 95 laid a solid platform for India. Dhawan fell for 143 and the rest of the Indian batting dragged the total to 358/9. In response, India struck twice but Khawaja again, this time with Handscomb shared a gutsy partnership. The 192-run stand was ended when Khawaja fell to Bumrah for 91 but Handscomb reached his maiden ton. When he fell, Australia were still miles away from the target. Ashton Turner made a big impression on the international stage with a magnificent 84 off 43 balls as Australia capitalised on India’s ineffectiveness due to the dew and they achieved the highest successful chase by a visiting team in ODIs in India.
Australia registered their first win in Delhi since 1998 as they won a series in India after 10 years.
5) Fortress Kotla crumbles, 5th ODI New Delhi
Australia had not won an ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla since 1998. In the decider, they won an important toss and Khawaja notched up his second ton, breaking David Warner’s record of the most number of runs in a five-match series in India. Australia collapsed along the way but they managed to reach 272/9. In response, Australia’s bowlers built the pressure and did not allow India to get away as they lost the match by 35 runs to lose a series at home after four years.