The eventual 4-1 scoreline was a fair indication of India's dominance over Australia in the ODI series that concluded here on Sunday. But in between, they still had to win those smaller battles to ensure they ended up on the right side of the margin.
Kedar Jadhav en route his 67 during the 4th ODI against Australia last Thursday. Pic/PTI
One of the great strengths of the current line-up is to turn the opponent's strength into a weakness. It is a risk and reward game, one that needs players to back their instincts and beliefs. It all started in Chennai where Kedar Jadhav continued to drive the swinging ball through the covers despite India having lost three quick wickets.
Super Jadhav Jadhav's assault on the Australian quicks allowed India to seize back the momentum through those early periods. Later in that innings, Hardik Pandya, the man with the word 'believe' tattooed on his forearm, won a mini battle against Adam Zampa by smashing him for 23 in five balls to change the dynamics of the game.
This trend continued right through from Chennai to the final ODI in Nagpur. Throughout the series, Australia had relied on pace bowlers to make early inroads, but Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane hit the Australian bowlers off their length. Once that plan clicked, the next mission was to hit the spinner out of the attack.
In Indore and Bangalore, Pandya was promoted to No. 4 to ensure Ashton Agar was never allowed to settle. On Sunday in Nagpur, Rohit and Rahane put Zampa under
Not an easy task
The task of unsettling the opponents' strength is not so straight forward. It involves taking on a particular bowler or a fielder inside the inner circle or on the boundary.
It is a classic live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword mentality. It involves trust and backing of not only an individual's game, but also the backing of the team.
Right through the series, India took on the challenges and came out on top. It is a brave form of batting, but a style that Pandya, Jadhav, Pandey and even the experienced lot of Rohit, Rahane and Kohli are prepared to adopt. In the past, it were the Australians who were prepared to be courageous and win those small battles. Now the shoe is on the other foot and India is slowly mastering it. India did very well!
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