India became the first Asian country to win a Test series in Australia and then went on to register their first-ever bilateral ODI series win Down Under on 18 January. The T20I series ended tied at 1-1, with the second T20I washed out at MCG, thereby becoming the first team to not lose a Test, ODI and T20I series in a tour to Australia.
Let’s have a look at few key stats and numbers which further help us understand how India conquered Australia across formats.
Cheteshwar Pujara was undoubtedly the hero for India with bat in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2018/19, but there was an average difference of 18.28 between India and Australia’s middle-order (No 3 to No 6) which made all the difference with Travis Head being the only Aussie to hit two fifties in the series. Head and Shaun Marsh were the only Australia batsmen to play in the middle-order in each of the Test matches but their average was 33.85 and 26.14 respectively, which was significantly lower than India’s Pujara (74.42) and Kohli (40.28).
While, the most riveting part of the rubber was the Indian pacers coming out on top in comparison to their Australian counterparts. The success of Indian bowlers was key to the Test series scoreline reading 2-1 in India’s favour.
Indian pacers bowled with heart throughout the series but more importantly they did not leak runs as they were earlier known to release the pressure after getting early wickets of opposition team.
The three-pronged attack of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami along with Ishant Sharma showed their bowling might as a unit and now look ready to take on any opposition and in any condition.
However, one of the biggest disappointment for Australia as far as their batting was concerned was that none of their batsman could compile a hundred in the eight innings they batted. With Steve Smith and David Warner serving yearlong bans, the inexperience in Aussie batsmen was always a concern and the Indian bowlers exposed the frailties. The highest score by Australian batsmen was 79 by the rookie Marcus Harris in the final SCG Test. On the other hand, at least one Indian batsman scored a century in each of the four Tests.
India’s top-order was to the fore once again and it has been Virat Kohli's team biggest strength in the last few years, making India one of favourites to lift upcoming World Cup. In comparison of the performances of the top three batsmen, India's troika – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli – were far superior in terms of runs, average and strike-rate while pitted against the Australian top-order.
The year 2018 was MS Dhoni’s worst year with the bat, which saw critics question former India captain's position in India’s ODI side, but the veteran has started 2019 with three fifties, including two match-winning knocks, in the first three innings. If MSD can hold on his own in the lead up to the World Cup and then eventually in the tournament, India might turnout be an unstoppable force in the marquee event. Here's how it is looking for Dhoni so far:
In the single opportunity that Yuzvendra Chahal got the leg-spinner came, conquered and gave a career-best performance in the deciding ODI at MCG. It will be interesting to see which bowling combination India deploy in with in their next series against New Zealand.
The biggest positives for India in the series was Krunal Pandya’s performance in his debut series with Dhawan continuing his fantastic run in the T20Is for India. The left-handed opening batsman was adjudged the Player of the series award as India's unbeaten runs into its 10 consecutive T20I series.
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The MS Dhoni-led team, despite two straight defeats prior to the final round-robin match, will have its nose ahead against an inconsistent Punjab outfit that is all but out of the play-offs race.
Rohit (363 runs) will have to lead from the front again. He has got starts but has not been able to convert them, and the great white-ball exponent would be itching for a big score.
Rahul emerged as the third highest scorer in the IPL with 628 runs besides hitting the most number of sixes (30) in the tournament.