The recently-concluded India-Australia One-Day International (ODI) series proved to be an ideal platform for the batsmen out of form to redeem themselves. While for those in form, it turned out to be an ego boost. The two teams managed to plunder 3,596 runs in the seven-match series, which included three innings cut short due to rain.
While most managed to make the best of the opportunity presented to them, some unusually failed. Here is the list of the batting performances by the players in the series.
The Mumbai batsman did well to cement the iffy second opening position in the team. Having been backed despite inconsistency earlier in his career, Rohit repaid the faith of the selectors and his skipper by becoming the highest run-getter in the tournament. His tally of 491 runs included two centuries, including a double ton in the final match. More importantly, he took India off to good starts in the series in company of Shikhar Dhawan.
The Australian skipper has firmly established himself as his team’s best batsman in the absence of Michael Clarke. He led from the front with a ton and three half-centuries in the six innings he played. He did enough damage to the Indian bowlers and their confidence by blazing away in the death overs. Bailey ended the series with 478 runs at a strike-rate of 116.01.
Virat Kohli’s good run of form never seems to end. During the tournament, he brought up two of the three fastest centuries by an Indian batsman. If the opening par of Rohit and Dhawan wasn’t good enough, there was more carnage to follow at the fall of the first Indian wicket. He slammed two tons and two half-centuries in six innings at a strike-rate of 123.29. His batting wasn’t just about brutal hitting, but bullying the Australian bowlers with brilliant placement.
Much like Kohli, Dhawan too continued from where he had left off. The celebrations after completing his ton in the sixth ODI proved that the runs come off the flat tracks proved to be a good ego massage for him.
Apart from that century, he also managed two half-centuries in the tournament. The feature of his 284 runs in the tournament was the fact that it did not include a single six, even as he hit 40 boundaries.
More than the runs he scored, he shed of the mocks of being a ‘million-dollar-buy’ in the Indian Premier League (IPL) by showing what he was capable of. Along with skipper Bailey, he destroyed the Indian bowlers towards the second half of the innings in many matches. He scored 248 runs at a phenomenal strike-rate of 152.14. He managed a series average of 41.33.
For a change, unlike other players, the Indian skipper didn’t come to the party simply when there was a flat deck offered to take advantage of. He showcased his brilliance under pressure. His unbeaten knock of 139 in the third match was as good a knock as one can expect to see in ODIs. Most importantly, like his Australian counterpart, he held India’s fort in the death overs and remained unbeaten to help his team post good totals or chase down daunting targets. Dhoni finished with an average of 122.50 in the series.
The all-rounder proved to be the surprise package of the series with the bat. After playing a scintillating innings of 64 runs off 29 balls at Mohali in the third ODI, he hit the fastest ton by an Australian off 57 deliveries in the final match of the series. He finished the series with 230 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of above 150.
The average performers
Given the conditions in the series, a lot was expected out of Shane Watson. Barring a century in the sixth ODI and a fifty at Jaipur, he didn’t do much of note. It was all the more worse to watch him gift away his wicket every time. He wasn’t undone by good bowling, but due to poor shots. However, he managed to score 237 runs in six innings at a healthy rate of 113.39.
The best that Phil Hughes could do in the series was to safeguard his place after being given the opportunity to open the innings. He constantly got the team off to good starts in the series, but didn’t do anything exceptional. He ended the series with 199 runs.
He started the series off well after playing a splendid innings in the lone T20 International. However, as the tour progressed, his form dipped and he failed to register any noteworthy performance. In the six innings he played, Finch managed to record 190 runs, which included two half-centuries.
Again, much like Hughes and Finch, there wasn’t anything exceptional from Adam Voges. However, he proved handy in the middle overs, giving company to his skipper who was on a rampage. Voges scored 149 runs at an average of 37.25 in the series.
The short-pitched delivery continued to strangle Suresh Raina even on flat tracks. Unlike his other teammates, he couldn’t make the best possible use of the opportunity. The experiment to try him out at No 4 failed as he returned with just 100 runs in four innings.
The Australian wicketkeeper-batsman had a horrid series with the bat. He struggled to get going even as the other batsmen in the team came up with handy contributions. Haddin managed to record a highest score of 40 in the series. However, he managed only 38 more runs in the remaining five ODIs.
Yuvraj Singh Coming into the ODI series at the back of a match-winning half-century against Australia in the T20I, Yuvraj Singh’s form in the ODIs proved to be an anti-climax to the comeback story. The fact that he could manage just 19 runs in four innings, including two ducks, proves enough to tell his story. Much like Raina, Mitchell Johnson’s searing pace troubled the Punjab southpaw.
Irrespective of the performance in the series, one wonders whether it was an ideal ‘preparation’ for Australia ahead of their more hyped Ashes 2013-14 series. Has it done their batsmen’s confidence good or inflated it unnecessarily before they face a more deadlier English bowling attack on better pitches.
On the other hand, sterner tests await India in South Africa after the spotlight would’ve shifted from Sachin Tendulkar and his 200th and farewell Test.
(Aayush Puthranis a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)