The tour of India saw Australia win both the T20I and ODI series, giving them some much-needed momentum ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England as well as helping some of their key players find some form ahead of the tournament, thus boosting their chances of defending their crown.
Here are the five players who stepped up to the plate when it mattered the most:
Pat Cummins (14 wickets @ 15.71)
Expected to lead the pace attack in this series due to the absence of both Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, Cummins did not disappoint. He ended the series as the highest wicket-taker with a total of 14 scalps to his name.
He wasn’t among the wickets in the first ODI but did end the second match with figures of 4/29. His three wickets at Ranchi were key to Australia notching their first win in the series and he followed that performance up with a fifer at Mohali.
He dismissed Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the deciding game at Delhi as the visitors capped off a remarkable comeback.
Usman Khawaja (383 runs @ 76.60)
Prior to this series, the left-hander who had yet to score an ODI ton was seen as a stop-gap option at the top of the order until David Warner’s return from a year-long suspension. Yet Khawaja ended the series as the highest run-getter, notching up two centuries and as many fifties in the process.
He scored 50 and 38 in the first two ODIs before notching his maiden ODI century at Mohali as Australia began their comeback. He missed out on another century at Ranchi after being dismissed for 91 but was not to be denied at New Delhi, playing a key role in helping his side seal the series.
Adam Zampa (11 wickets @ 25.81)
The leg-spinner made life difficult for Virat Kohli throughout the tour and even got rid of him thrice – once in the T20I series and twice in the ODI series. It was his dismissal of Kohli in the third ODI that helped Australia notch their first win in the series.
If Cummins led the bowling attack, Zampa played the supporting role to perfection. He took 11 wickets in 5 matches and his scalps were often key ones: he got rid of both Kedhar Jadhav and MS Dhoni in two matches and his dismissal of Rohit Sharma in the final ODI all but ended India’s top-order resistance.
Peter Handscomb (236 runs @ 47.20)
Like Khawaja, Handscomb’s time in the Australian batting line-up was seen as temporary as he was expected to be the fall man once Steve Smith’s year-long suspension ended. However, Handscomb put in a number of decent performances in the ODI series, scoring 236 runs in the process.
He scored just 19 in the first game but narrowly missed out on a half-century in the second thanks to some fine fielding by Ravindra Jadeja. This was followed by a duck in the third match.
However, he scored a century in the fourth match that laid the foundation for Australia’s series-levelling win before following that up with a half-century, giving the Australian selector’s a good headache with the World Cup looming.
Jhye Richardson (8 wickets @ 21.12)
The young fast bowler featured in the final three matches of the series and his presence in the pace attack made a considerable difference to the away team’s potency with the ball as he ended the series with 8 wickets.
His pace caused the Indian top order some issues, as he accounted for Shikhar Dhawan at Ranchi and Rohit Sharma at Mohali and he was also effective at cleaning up the lower order and tail. He got rid of Kedhar Jadhav twice, the second time in the final ODI which in turn ended India’s slim chances of getting the required runs to seal the series.
adam zampaIndia vs AustraliaIndia vs Australia 2019Jhye RichardsonPat Cumminspeter handscombUsman Khawaja
First Published: March 14, 2019, 11:24 AM IST