The touring Australian cricketers are already nearing the end of their India tour and despite a couple of upsets; their visit has been highly satisfactory. With such an impressive performance, they have already proved Ian Chappell and Geoffrey Boycott completely wrong. This was also the theme of this author’s earlier article, published on these pages, a few days ago.
They began in great fashion in the only T-20 game at Rajkot on October 10, where they piled up 201, helped by Aaron Finch’s 89 in 52 balls and Maddinson’s brave 34 from 16. Regardless of the final result, any score in excess of 200 in T-20 fixtures can only be termed as a solid effort. More often than not, teams who have scored 200-plus in T-20 matches have ended up on the winning side.
In the first ODI at Pune they scored 304, which was enough to lay India low. Aaron Finch excelled with 72 scored off 79 balls, but it was their captain who made the biggest difference. Bailey’s well compiled 85 in 89 balls took the match out of India’s grip.
In the second ODI, the Australians notched up a monumental 359. It is not easy to beat any team with such score. Although, what three Indian top order batsmen did at Jaipur was historic; any evaluation, based on the score, would point to nothing less than a match-winning total. Ask the most experienced cricket analyst and he/she will readily agree that losing the game after scoring 359 is a remote possibility. So despite the loss to India, Australia scored full marks for their batting abilities in that game. And why not – just 3 days back, they comfortably beat the hosts with 304 on the board!
In the third match of the series played on October 19, Australians did even better. India had scored 303 in their innings. When Australia came into bat, Finch, as usual, did his bit as the opener, scoring 38 in 44 balls. Though Indian spinners slowed down the proceedings, Faulkner stole the match from India in the last 4 overs. Faulkner was already nursing a grudge that MS Dhoni had spoiled his bowling averages in the final overs of the Indian innings; so he picked up Ishant Sharma to take his revenge, hitting the hapless bowler for 4 sixes in the 48th over. At that stage India were ahead since Australia needed 44 off 18 balls. But 30 runs from one Ishant Sharma over meant Australia required just 14 off the last 2 overs. Faulkner won the game for the visitors with an out-of-the-world 65 off 29 balls.
In the washed out fourth game at Ranchi on October 23, 2013, Australia piled up 295/8 after being reduced to 32/3 early on. George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell went about setting Australia’s highest fifth wicket partnership against India in the ODI, scoring 153. Bailey showed his devastating ability by hitting up 98 runs in 94 balls and Maxwell did even better by blasting 92 off 77.
A decisive advantage that the tourists have had thus far is India’s weak bowling attack. Other than the restrictive slow stuff, sent down by Ashwin and Jadeja, no other Indian bowler poses any threat. But this does not mean, you can take any credit away from the Australian batsmen.
Therefore, with just 2 ODIs left, Australians have had a more than satisfactory visit. In all the games, including the T-20, their batting has not been found wanting and their bowling is good as well. They need to work out their fielding, though. But performance-wise, they have ably demonstrated their batting depth and fighting skills.