India vs Australia 2017: Five Talking Points From The Just-Concluded ODI Series
India thrashed Australia by seven wickets in the fifth and final One-Day International on Sunday (October 1) to wrap up the five-match series 4-1.
Batting first, Australia could manage only a modest total of 242 for nine in the allotted 50 overs. In reply, the Men in Blue, led by Rohit Sharma’s brilliant 125, chased down the total with more than seven overs remaining. The win also saw the Virat Kohli-led side reclaim the number one rank in ODI cricket which they had lost after losing the fourth game.
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 1, 2017
Both the teams will now renew their rivalry in the upcoming three-match T20I series, but before that, we are take a look at five talking points of the recently-concluded series:
5. Australia’s regular collapse:
Barring the fourth game where Peter Handscomb and Travis Head saved the visitors from suffering another collapse as they went on to win the game by 21 runs, the script was pretty much similar in all the four games that Australia lost.
Unfortunately, the collapse was the only consistent feature for the world champions during the forgettable series for them. They had enjoyed good starts in the last three games of the series, but the failure of middle-order cost them dear as they ended up losing the series 4-1.
4. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are indispensable:
Their importance can be assessed from the fact that India ended losing the only game in which the duo was rested. In the third game at Indore, Australia were looking primed to post well over 300 after racing to 224 for just 2 in 38 overs, but the hosts managed to restrict them to 293, and the pacers played an integral role in it. India had conceded just 59 runs in the last ten overs and had gone on to chase down the total to seal the series.
Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah were rested for the fourth match, and the hosts ended up conceding 86 runs in the last ten overs and had gone on to lose the game which ended their 9-match winning streak. In the fifth game, they gave away just 31 runs in the last five overs in addition to sharing three wickets between them.
3. Ajinkya Rahane set to give team management a headache:
While having a strong bench strength is the dream of many teams, it is a reality for the Indian team. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma arguably form the best opening pair in the game backup opener Ajinkya Rahane has shown he is ready to pounce whenever either of his teammates fails.
Rahane had pressed his claim for a regular starting place in the team by finishing the series in West Indies as the highest-scorer and has now only strengthened his case by scoring four consecutive half-centuries in the recently-concluded series. His current form is bound to give the think tank plenty to think about when they sit down to decide the openers for the next series.
2. Number 4 woes are still not solved:
While the Indian team is consistently winning its games, there is no denying that the team management will be worried due to the number 4 spot which has not been cemented by any player till now. Manish Pandey and KL Rahul have been given chances in recent times, but they have failed to grab it. The team recently tried Hardik Pandya at number 4, and he did exceedingly well. However, it is highly unlikely that the team will persist with Pandya at number 4 and as such the spot is a major area of concern.
1. Hardik Pandya has marked his arrival:
After his impressive displays in the Champions Trophy and in Sri Lanka, Hardik Pandya has truly marked his arrival with the all-round performance against the world champions that also helped him to win his first Man of the Series accolade. He finished the series with 222 runs and six wickets.
Not only with the bat, but the 23-year old also contributed immensely with the ball. In the first game, he played a decisive knock of 83 off just 66 balls to take India to a respectable total when they were reeling at 87 for 5. He complemented it with a couple of wickets including the prized scalp of Steve Smith.
In the next game, he once again took two wickets and scored 20 runs before scoring a match-winning knock of 78 when promoted at number 4 in the third match. In the fourth game, he was promoted to number 4 again and scored a crucial 41, but it came in a losing cause. And although he did not get a chance to bat in the fifth and final ODI on Sunday (October 1), he made his mark with the ball, breaking the 66-run stand between Aaron Finch and David Warner.
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