The recently concluded Australian tour of India is not likely to fade from public memory anytime soon. The 7 one dayers and the only Twenty20 international will remain in the minds of various pundits for various reasons. Though the end score line read 4-2 with the 1st match being washed out by rain, it was a series which will be remembered for its flashes of aggression, some glorious performances and even some gloomy moments.
It is not everyday that you see a score of 300 being crossed in an One day international. But the Aussies achieved that feat thrice in the series. The player of the series, Andrew Symonds was the key contributor to this statistic, along with his fishing pal Matthew Hayden-who seems to be unstoppable on sub-continent wickets. His series average of 58 runs drives home this point. His ominous presence in the Australian line-up has indeed made a ‘big’ difference to the side that looked a little unsettled at the top without him in the final 2 ODI’s. The men in blue made a modest impact on the series. Star batsman, Sachin Tendulkar top scored for the hosts with 278 runs at an average of 39.
In the bowling department, Mitchell Johnson-the man who is turning out to be a headache for the Indian top order, led the way with 13 wickets in the ODI’s. The tally includes his inaugural 5 wicket haul at Vadodara. The Indian speedsters lived up to their reputation of being an inconsistent lot. It was a big surprise for not only the viewers but also the Aussies that Murali Kartik was included in the squad. Their lack of homework on the left arm spinner made life difficult for the Australian batsmen.
All the talk that was going around, even before the series started, were indicative of the things to come. But, the various duels on the field meant that things had gone a bit too far. The Symonds vs Sreesanth rivalry looks far from being over and it will be interesting to see if the Indian pacer is able to showcase the same aggression (with results) down under. Which reminds me of the so called ‘racial attack’ on Symonds by Indian spectators at Vadodara. Since when did ‘monkey chants’ be recognized as a form of racial abuse?
The form of Rahul Dravid is definitely a cause of concern for Dhoni and the rest of the Indian think tank, especially with the high voltage clashes with Pakistan at home and Australia (away) coming up. Robin Uthappa is for me the find of the series. He has grown as a batsman and could do wonders for the team if he can just convert the 30’s and 40’s into big scores.
Though the one-day series went Australia’s way, India lived up to their tag of world champions in the Twenty20, finishing with a seven wicket thrashing victory over the Aussies. In which the star performer was undoubtedly the man of the match, Gautam Gambhir. Critics are still apprehensive about his ability to face the challenges of test and 50 over cricket but the Delhi lad has shown an affinity for the shortest version of the game and how!
The upcoming Pakistani challenge should be a more evenly matched one, as both the sides look balanced on paper. But again, nobody knows what can happen in the game of cricket especially when a certain Murali Kartik is capable of scalping six wickets in one game against the formidable Australia.