No Steven Smith. No David Warner. No Mitchell Starc. No Josh Hazlewood. No Nathan Coulter-Nile for the last three ODIs. No Marcus Stoinis for the crunch game in Mohali. No problem for Australia. From being 2-0 down in the ODI series, they found new heroes to dramatically turn the tables on India to wrap up their first ODI series win in the country in 10 years. ESPNcricinfo takes a look at five players who made a difference for Australia in this series.

Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja after bringing up his second century on tour Getty Images

Five months after holding off Yasir Shah and co. in Dubai and finding a way to succeed in Asia, Khawaja enhanced his reputation in India as one of the finest players of spin in Australia.

It has been an incredible transformation, considering that prior to his Dubai marathon, not many gave him a chance against spin, particularly in the subcontinent. Here, he countered India’s spinners with a variety of sweeps and often twinkled down the track to throw them off their lines and lengths.

Back in the day, Matthew Hayden had deployed a similar method to combat Harbhajan Singh. In three must-win games for Australia in this series, Khawaja reeled off scores of 104, 91, 100. On a slow and turning Delhi pitch that was right up the alley of India’s spinners, he made a velvet-smooth century, which carried Australia to 272 for 9. Then, he hung onto the pressure catch of Vijay Shankar in India’s chase to hasten Australia’s stunning victory.

Peter Handscomb

The sweep is a productive shot for Peter Handscomb Getty Images

Much like Khawaja, Handscomb is fond of the sweep shot. On the larger grounds, he also smartly used the chip shot and stole twos from right under the noses of the outfielders. In the second ODI in Nagpur, Australia were straightjacketed by India’s spinners: they played out 89 dots out of 168 balls from Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav.

In the last two ODIs in Mohali and Delhi, Handscomb combined with Khawaja and showed Australia the way against spin in the middle overs. A sweep here, a dink there, and they kept the scorecard ticking in fuss-free fashion. The Handscomb-Khawaja union might have reminded you of the Tom Latham-Kane Williamson combination when New Zealand visited India in 2016.

About a year back, Handscomb was pigeonholed as a Test specialist. In the past few months, he has won the JLT One Day Cup with Victoria, reached the BBL final with the Melbourne Stars and capped it with a starring role in a come-from-behind ODI series win in India.

Adam Zampa

Adam Zampa is starting to bamboozle more and more batsmen in international cricket Getty Images

The last time he was here in India, Zampa was so “low on confidence” that Hardik Pandya felt that he could hit a six off him anytime he wanted to. On this tour, Zampa was the second-highest wicket-taker and the highest among spinners, with 11 scalps in five innings at an average of 25.81 and economy rate of 5.68. And he nabbed Virat Kohli twice in this series. Overall in international cricket, the legspinner has dismissed Kohli five times in 11 innings.

Zampa doesn’t rely on drift, dip and sharp turn like other wristspinners do. He gets the ball to skid off the surface and relentlessly attacks the stumps. Having the experience and guile of Nathan Lyon at the other end has helped him, but Zampa emerged as the best spinner on tour. Who’d have thought Zampa would outbowl India’s spinners?

Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins celebrates an Indian wicket Associated Press

Had Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood been fit, Cummins may not have got an opportunity to bowl with the new ball at all. Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendoff took the new ball in the series opener in Hyderabad, but Cummins enjoyed a rare outing with the new ball in the second match in Nagpur. He first bounced out Rohit Sharma for a duck and then returned in the death overs to collect three wickets in seven balls, including the prize scalp of Kohli for 116.

He was also impressive in Ranchi, but made a bigger impact in Mohali and Delhi. After skidding one through the defences of centurion Shikhar Dhawan, Cummins rushed Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal for pace and pegged India back to 358 for 9 when the hosts were set for an even bigger total.

It was Cummins who cracked the decider open for Australia when Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were threatening a jailbreak with a 91-run partnership for the seventh wicket in the chase of 274. He fooled Bhuvneshwar with a slower ball on his toes and had him scooping a catch to mid-off. Game over for India.

Ashton Turner

Ashton Turner connects with one over midwicket Getty Images

Dhawan referred to him as “that guy” at the post-match press conference in Mohali, moments after Turner had pulled off Australia’s biggest ever ODI chase. That guy has been Perth Scorchers’ finisher for a while. That guy has been on the fringes of Australia’s ODI side for a while.

In only his second ODI, that guy announced himself in style, with 84 off 43 balls, and proved to the world that he can finish high-pressure games for Australia as well.

Turner’s clean striking and ice-cool temperament has given Australia the option of playing two finishers. Mind you, Marcus Stoinis, Australia’s ODI Player of the Year and the owner of one of the greatest ODI innings, is very much in the mix. Just like that, the depth in Australia’s squad is phenomenal.



Source link