India had taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against Australia. But they lost the next three to lose the series 3-2. This was just the second time India have lost an ODI series at home after taking a 2-0 lead. The last it happened was against Pakistan when after taking a 2-0 lead, India lost 4-2 in the six-match ODI series in 2005. A lot of reasons are attributed to India’s ODI series loss. Cricwizz takes a look at five reasons India lost the ODI series.
Unreliable and inconsistent experiments
In the name of experiments, India did not let a consistent line-up play throughout the series. Hence, India struggled to find stability in the middle-order. India tried a few too many options in the middle-order in the name of experiments and they failed big time to add depth to the batting and bowling line-up.
In the decider, India just went with three specialist batsmen in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, and once they were dismissed, India found themselves in troubled waters straight away. They also mixed up the bowling options frequently, chopping and changing occasionally to derail the confidence of the bowlers.
No 4 continues to be a woe
India came into the ODI series, thinking it has resolved their No 4 woes after Ambati Rayudu slammed a match-winning 90 in the fifth ODI in New Zealand to take the series 4-1. But after three consistent low scores in the first three ODIs against Australia, Rayudu was dropped for KL Rahul who was dropped for Rishabh Pant at No 4 in the fifth ODI.
India tried three batsmen at No 4 during the series and none of them did justice to the vital 4th spot. Hence, India have few headaches going into the World Cup.
Will they continue to back Rayudu, or gamble in Rahul or take a back-up batsman in keeper Rishabh Pant. The ODI series had compounded the World Cup problems for India than solving it.
Poor reading of conditions
India twice failed to read the conditions, first in Ranchi, and then in Mohali when dew played an important role in the two losses. In the Ranchi ODI, India batted first to take advantage of dew in the second innings. But there was zero dew factor there.
In Mohali ODI, the dew helped Australia overhaul a record target of 359 as Indian bowlers struggled after Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat first.
The dew worked against India as Kohli and his men gave an opening to Australia to level the series 2-2 and take the series in the decider. On the other hand, Australia surprisingly adjusted well to the conditions better than home side India.
India too much dependent on Virat Kohli
India batting depended heavily on Virat Kohli as other batsmen failed to live up to expectations. He cracked a ton (116) in a winning cause in Nagpur, while he waged a lone battle in the Hyderabad ODI (123) while wickets kept tumbling at the other end in chase of 314.
In the decider at Delhi, the Indian batting line-up fell apart once Kohli was dismissed. Indian openers – Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan – too flattered to deceive and in the absence of an anchor and finisher in MS Dhoni in the middle-order in the last two ODIs, India struggled to take the match deep and raise hope of a win.
Lack of passion & clarity; and over-confidence
Virat Kohli himself said Australia played with more passion, hunger to win the series than India. India were overconfident after taking a 2-0 lead in the series. They believed they can just turn up on the match day and win the series.
In fact, for the decider at Delhi, while India rested before the match, Aaron Finch and his men sweated it out in practice in the hot Delhi sun.
Hence, India were deserving losers, while Australia won a hard-fought series despite missing two of their main players in Steve Smith and David Warner.
In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that this ODI series has helped more Australia than India in the World Cup preparations.