New Delhi: Vanquishing India on their home turf is huge for this Australian side and it's time to relish the victory than thinking about the World Cup which is still far away, says opener Usman Khawaja.
The left-handed opener was one of the main architects of Australia's 3-2 series win over India after going down 0-2. He scored 50, 38, 104, 91, 100 in five matches.
"It's huge. Just winning a series in India is huge. It's a tough place to come and play cricket, against a very good side. They beat us in Australia, so to come back from those first couple of losses and win three in a row to win the series is a great feeling, said Khawaja after being adjudged the man-of-the-series.
"We're playing well right now. We are just going to enjoy this series win at the moment. We've still got another five one-dayers to come against Pakistan, who are also a decent side. For us now it's not to look too far ahead, we want to enjoy this win first."
Asked if the stunning performance makes Australia favourite to defend their World Cup title, Khawaja said, "I'm not sure."
"The World Cup is still pretty far away. We've have played some really good cricket. Moving forward it doesn't matter. There are new games, new teams, new wickets.
"After playing cricket for a long time, I know if you look too far ahead you get in trouble. We have got to keep our heads down, keep working hard. Hopefully if we do that, everything else will take care of itself," he added.
Former skipper Steve Smith and David Warner will not be part of the squad for the Pakistan series but are expected to make their way into Australia's World Cup squad.
Asked if the current team members are aware about the competition for slots, Khawaja said, "I don't think anybody is really thinking about that."
"Everyone's just really enjoying playing cricket right now. Playing one-day cricket in India is always tough. But winning the last couple of games has been very enjoyable. Even the first couple of games we lost, I think there was a really good vibe in the group.
"Everyone was working really hard, having a lot of fun outside of it and during training and everything that goes with it. I think everyone's gelled really well together. Everyone's just really enjoying the success we've had over the last 3 games. Nobody is really looking too far ahead."
Talking about his own terrific form in this series, Khawaja said it was very satisfying to play a part in the team's victory.
"Feeling good at the moment. But never take it for granted to be honest. To be honest I am enjoying the wins more. It's nice to get runs but it always hurts when you don't win," he said.
"From a personal point of view it's huge. Man-of-the-series in a one-day series in India. I wasn't in the one-day side this time last year. To be here in India and winning this series, it's massive.
"It's always a tough place to play cricket for any Australian. You've got the conditions, the crowds, so I think from a personal point of view it's really satisfying to come back to the one-day side and contribute.
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After five days of intense Test cricket, the two teams cannot be separated as India pull off something similar to a heist, if the term can be applied in the context of a draw. Five days of facing Smith and Labuschagne’s brilliance with the bat, the pace trio and Lyon bowling as sharply as ever and some hostilities from the crowd, in addition to the spate of injuries and the absence of their talismanic regular captain. If the Gill-Rohit opening stand gave the early impetus, it was the surreal counter-attack by Pant and Pujara that truly turned things around today, with Vihari and Ashwin’s stonewalling efforts in the end while battling physical discomfort the cherry on the cake.India will look to carry the momentum over to the Gabba, a venue that is considered Australia’s fortress, with the series still level 1-1. Given the way Rahane and Co have fought back after the 36 all out debacle, they’ll certainly hope to end the tour on a high. For now, it’s time for me to sign off on behalf of my colleague Shubham!
Stumps, Day 4. Rahane plays well to evade further damage to the India scorecard. Lyon tested him in the last over of the day with some loopy deliveries with bat-pad and slips in place. Pujara and Rahane will resume innings and India's fight from 98/2. They need 309 runs to win. To draw, they need to bat for three sessions. Not to forget, Jadeja will not bat and Pant still has some pain in his arm that dealt the blow in first innings. Huge task for India tomorrow, with Vihari not among runs and short on confidence. We will see you tomorrow at 3.30 am IST.
So the whole last session has been lost and the officials have decided to make up for it by resuming the game half an earlier tomorrow. Day 2 honours should go to India. With an inexperienced bowling attack, they restricted Australian first innings to 369 after the hosts resumed innings today at 274/5. Rohit batted well for his 44 before his attacking style of play led to his fall, yet again. Pujara and Rahane have looked assured in the middle and India, trailing by 307, need them to carry on for long.The coverage starts tomorrow at 4 am and remember the game resumes at 5 am and not 5.30 am IST. Take care and good-bye.