There are a few changes that can be counted since the last time India played a three-match ODI series in Australia. That season as well, the results were 2-1, just, in India’s favor. This time, it is the home team’s turn.
Back then, in the second ODI at Adelaide, Indian bowlers had restricted Australia to 298; this time, it was 389. Captain Virat Kohli had scored a century in that match to take his team to victory, this time; he stopped at 89, courtesy a new nemesis, Josh Hazlewood.
India finally managed a win in the final ODI of the three-match series.
In the third ODI at Melbourne, Yuzvendra Chahal got a six-wicket haul to restrict Australia to 230. It needed was a mini-Kohli show, and a classic from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav to win India the series. This time around, Chahal was dropped from the third ODI, Dhoni has retired and Jadhav is not in the squad. The only thing that has not changed, surprisingly, is that Kohli was caught behind by Alex Carey on both occasions.
What went wrong for India this time? Was it the Dhoni factor or team selection? Or was it simply the fact that Steve Smith and David Warner were back?
The team that led India to victory in the third ODI cannot be called the core squad. Rohit Sharma is missing out for an injury; Md Shami was dropped for this match to make way for Shardul Thakur. T. Natarajan made his debut in place of Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav came in and Mayank Agarwal was dropped for Shubman Gill.
In the first two matches, the toss played a huge role. India had no answers to the destructive Australian batsmen. After getting hit incessantly in the first ODI, India fielded the same squad in the second and Australia posted a bigger score.
Kohli finally won the third toss. The captain’s half-century and a flurry of runs picked up in the death by Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja gave India a respectable total to defend. Things started going India’s way after Aaron Finch left. But when Glenn Maxwell started firing, the match was slowly inching towards a whitewash, if not for a Jasprit Bumrah Yorker.
Going into the T20s, India has added Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, and Deepak Chahar to the squad. The latter will ideally be included in the playing XI in the first T20. India would need to carry their form from the final ODI into the match.
The top order will need to fire. The openers have not been very successful, and in the middle order, none except Kohli and KL Rahul, the latter in a single match, could put up a good score. You cannot expect the all-rounders to fire every time, can you? The bowlers will also need to put their best foot forward.
India thus needs to take a good lesson from the ODI series loss to have any success in the T20Is.
Cover Credits: CricketCountry