The seven match ODI series between tourists Australia and hosts India is one that will live long in the memory of all who watched it. The rain fell, records tumbled and more often than not the ball found its way to the boundary.
With two games rained off, the series effectively became a five match shootout of immense proportions. In these five games (plus 55 overs of an abandoned match) there were an incredible 3596 runs scored with the loss of only 73 wickets! Four batsmen averaged over 100, and there were nine centuries and 18 half centuries!
The first match of the series, played in Pune, was just a taster for what was to come later on. Australia posted a total of 304-8 and would’ve been reasonably happy thanks to 50’s from Finch and Bailey and contributions throughout the side. India’s response was pretty poor, regular wickets restricted the flow of runs and in the end the home team fell 72 runs short, quite a large margin of defeat. This was such a great result for the Aussie’s after they were spanked around the ground in the only T20 game of the series.
The second match saw the teams travel to Jaipur for a truly remarkable game (similar to the infamous ‘434’ South Africa vs Australia game in Johannesburg in 2006). Australia smashed 359-5 in their 50 overs which saw Finch, Hughes, Watson, Bailey and Maxwell all pass 50 thanks to some more shoddy bowling from the Indian seamers. However, India made light work of the total and chased it down with an astonishing 7.3 overs left! Dhawan and Sharma put on 176 for the first wicket before Dhawan was caught behind for 95. Sharma carried on to his 3rd ODI hundred, but his innings was dwarfed by Kohli’s stunning knock. He scored 100* from just 52 balls smiting seven 6’s and producing some of the cleanest hitting I have ever seen. It was the second highest run chase in ODI cricket and brought the series level at 1-1.
The third ODI saw MS Dhoni drag his team over 300 with a brilliant innings at the death in which he scored 139*. But that sparkling innings was outshone by James Faulkner’s blitz to see his country home. He scored 64* from just 29 balls including 30 from one abysmal Ishant Sharma over. This special piece of finishing edged the Canary Yellows in front in the series with 4 to play.
The fourth ODI was abandoned after 4.1 overs of the Indian run chase. Before the rain came, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell had enough time to post 90’s in typically aggressive fashion, striking 8 maximums between them.
ODI number five was rained off with a ball being bowled. I thought it was England who had the bad weather???
The penultimate ODI was played in Nagpur, and yet again India chased down a total of 350+. Australia batted first and George Bailey continued his ridiculous run of form by scoring a sublime 156. Shane Watson also added his first ton of the series as Australia blasted their way to 350-6. The top three of Sharma, Dhawan and Kohli made light work of the target again though, scoring 79, 100 and 115* respectively. This left captain MS Dhoni to hit the winning runs to take his side into the last match of the series on level terms.
The final showdown of the series was set in Bangalore and what a spectacle it was! India batted first and posted a mammoth 383-6 from their allotted overs. Rohit Sharma was India’s star man with the bat as he struck his way to an awe-inspiring 209 (only the 3rd man to score an ODI double hundred behind Tendulkar and Sehwag). His second hundred came in just 42 balls as he hit a record of 16 sixes in an individual innings. The Australian reply started off very weakly and they were 132-5 before they knew it and the game appeared to be lost (I turned over to watch the football at this point). But as I scrolled through twitter I saw that Glenn Maxwell was clouting the ball around and he scored an 18 ball 50. Faulkner then joined the party and so did Watson when Maxwell was caught for 60 from 22 balls. Faulkner smashed his way to the quickest 100 by an Australian and finished on a career best 116. The aforementioned trio scored 225 from 97 balls the Indian crowd looked rather worried, but after Faulkner was caught at deep mid-wicket, Australia finished on 326 all out and India took the series 3-2.
What can we take from this series?
- India’s batting line up is incredible. Sharma, Dhawan, Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Jadeja is the best top 7 in world cricket.
- India’s seam attack is awful. Ishant Sharma was truly rubbish and should have a word with himself.
- Australia’s bowling attack isn’t much better. Xavier Doherty (Australia’s frontline spinner) took his first wicket of the series in the last match!
- George Bailey is in the form of his life. He is averaging 64 in 2013!
- These new ODI rules are making for much better entertainment. Who would be a bowler, eh?