India could have found the perfect team    Getty Images
India could have found their perfect team Getty Images

With their win in the third T20I at Sydney, India became the first team to whitewash Australia at home in a three-match series of any format. After losing the first four ODIs, India bounced back strongly to finish the tour with a 4-4 result. India ensured that their ODI shortcomings did not come to the fore in the T20Is, with the change in personnel proving to be precisely what India needed. From the middle-order alterations to the new-look bowling attack, it seemed like all of India’s misfiring parts in the ODIs were finally well-oiled in the T20Is. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 3rd T20I at Sydney

There was never a problem with India’s top order; Rohit Sharma was Man of the Series in the ODIs, and looked in great form in the T20Is as well. Virat Kohli was named Man of the Series in the T20Is, having taken his tour tally to seven fifty-plus scores in eight innings the best haul ever by an Indian, beating no less a batting pair than Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. And then there was Shikhar Dhawan, who started the series severely out of form but ended up in scorching touch. READ: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina lead India to last-ball win over Australia in 3rd T20I at SCG

Ajinkya Rahane and then Manish Pandey both scored crucial runs for India in the ODIs, but neither man played the T20I series; Rahane was injured and Pandey was not included in the squad. This meant that India’s middle and lower-middle order which was already in poor form in the ODIs now included two batsmen who were making national comebacks, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. Of course, Raina was not returning after very long; he had last played for India in the ODI series against South Africa just a couple of months ago. Yuvraj, on the other hand, was coming back after almost two years. READ: India vs Australia 2015-16, 3rd T20I at SCG: Yuvraj Singh’s cameo, Virat Kohli’s masterclass and other highlights

Raina played a decent innings in the first T20I at Adelaide, scoring 41 off 34 balls, but it was in the third match at Sydney that he truly proved his worth. Coming in at a tough stage and with an incredibly rusty Yuvraj for company, Raina scored a match-winning 25-ball 49 not out to help India win off the final delivery.

Meanwhile, Yuvraj showed that his fielding, while nowhere near as athletic as his heydays, was reliable. He bowled well and showed how useful he will be as a fifth or sixth bowler, should MS Dhoni need to call on him. But it was always going to be about his batting, and he did not get to bat in either of the first two matches. When he finally got a chance, it was with 51 runs needed to win from 31 balls. For nine agonising deliveries it seemed like Yuvraj was playing an identical innings to the 2014 World T20 final. He played and missed, scoring just 5 and looking completely out of touch. READ: Yuvraj Singh and the joy of old heroes

With 17 runs needed to win from the final over, Yuvraj reminded everyone that that was a mere aberration; he hit a boundary off the first ball and a priceless six off the next one to announce that he still belongs. It was as if the final pieces of India’s limited-overs puzzle were finally in place. READ: Yuvraj Singh exorcises the ghosts of ICC World T20 2014 final

The bowling was good too; Ashish Nehra proved that he lost none of his zip despite being on the wrong side of 35, and Jasprit Bumrah has impressed with every outing despite getting hit a bit in the last match. With the pace bowling looking good and the ever-reliable spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin firing, India look a tough side to beat.

Perhaps the only unanswered question is in the role of the pace-bowling all-rounder. Hardik Pandya did not impress with the ball, but he did not get to bat either and Pandya calls himself a batting all-rounder. With Irfan Pathan also waiting in the wings, India will not be too worried on this front.

India seem to have found the ideal combination to excel in limited-overs cricket. Their batsmen are in form, and their bowlers are performing well too. One feels that with the likes of Rahane, Pandey, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav as backup, India look like an excellent bet to lift the ICC World T20 2016.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)