If there was one format in which India had a slight advantage over Australia, it was definitely the T20 one. After all, Australia had played only one T20 match going into the series against India. Also, the Aussies did not go in with a full-strength squad in the last two matches, preferring instead to send the experienced players to New Zealand even before the India series came to an end. The Indians, who are T20 experts of sorts, thanks to the number of games they play, took full advantage of Australia’s weaknesses, to whitewash them in their own backyard, a rare achievement for a touring side, irrespective of the format.
Even if one takes into consideration the fact that Australia did not play a full-strength team, India still need to be credited for the manner in which they outplayed the hosts. In a series dominated by batsmen, the impressive bowling effort of rookie paceman Jasprit Bumrah stood out. While his performance wasn’t up to the mark in the final match, for most of games that he featured in, he did make an impact. While his action isn’t one for the purists, Bumrah displayed the ability to find the yorkers more often than the experienced bowlers did before him, which clears is a big plus.
India’s top order was in fine form during the one-dayers, and they carried the same form into the T20s as well. Rohit Sharma gave the team bright starts every time he stepped out in the middle. Virat Kohli did not register a single failure across the three games, crossing fifty each time, and was only dismissed in the closing stages at Sydney. As for Shikhar Dhawan, while he did not stay at the crease for long, he gave India smashing starts, which reduced the pressure on the batsmen to follow. Unlike the one-dayers, their heroics weren’t in vain this time round.
What India dearly missed in the ODIs was the finishing punch, which is what Suresh Raina provided in the T20s. He did not look too comfortable in the first match, where he scored 40-odd. But, the time spent in the middle definitely aided his cause as Raina was at his best as India looked to close out the game at Sydney. As the target drew closer, Raina came into his own. Yuvraj Singh played his part too, dismissing Glenn Maxwell in consecutive matches. Then, just when it looked his batting could cost India the final match, he delivered the crucial blows.
Indian spinners also made a difference to the team’s fortunes. Ravindra Jadeja was a lot more effective, even though Shane Watson tore him apart at Sydney. Overall though, he put up a good all-round show in the field. Ravichandran Ashwin also chipped in with wickets at key moments in the game although his consistency remains worrisome. Left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra was recalled for the series keeping in mind the World T20. But, the selectors would be confused over him, for neither has he performed exceedingly well nor has he been totally poor. Some thinking for the selectors to do then.
--By A Cricket Analyst