India thrashed Australia in the final ODI of the series at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru to seal the ODI series 2-1. The Virat Kohli-led side suffered a humiliating loss in the opening game of the series but then came roaring back to humble the Aussies in back-to-back matches. Here we take a look at some long-term takeaways for India from the series.
KL Rahul's utility skills
KL Rahul has been pushed around in the batting order countless times by India in this format but he has been rock solid in most roles given to him. Initially in the side as a back-up opener, Rahul was moved to the middle-order before being confirmed as back-up opener only to bat in the middle-order and even lower middle-order. In this series alone, he has moved from no. 5 to open again with Shikhar Dhawan suffering an injury in the final game.
All this while, Rahul was also the wicket-keeper with Rishabh Pant first injured and then dropped for the final ODI, a testimony to how well Rahul has accustomed himself to the wicket-keeper role. His utility skills will interest India for sure. That he can blossom in most roles make him a big team man and a quintessential part of the setup. After all, a Rahul from Karnataka doing multiple jobs isn't new to Indian cricket.
Mohammed Shami in the death
There was always a debate surrounding which of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami should play in ODIs. While Bhuvneshwar was the obvious economical bowler, Shami was a natural wicket-taker even if he leaked runs. He finished 2019 as the highest ODI wicket-taker with 42 wickets and finished this ODI series with 7 wickets in 3 matches at an average of 28.29, once again topping the wicket charts.
But what stood out in Shami's performance was his yorkers in the death overs. Always seen as a hit-the-deck bowler with seam movement and good with the new ball or in the middle overs, Shami thrived in the death overs with an old-school skills - nailing the base of the stumps with toe-crushers. With Jasprit Bumrah, Shami could make for a potent death over combination for India in the next few years.
Don't move yourself, Virat Kohli
The series began with Virat Kohli eloquently stating that he would go down to number four in the batting line-up to accomodate all of Shikhar Dhawan, KL.Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the starting XI. The move backfired in the first ODI in Mumbai and since then India have gone back to Kohli at number three, a swift return to normalcy if anything.
Kohli made 78 and 89 in the next two games as India won in resounding fashion at Rajkot and Bengaluru. Kohli at number three is something that has worked for India in the past and there's no reason to challenge something that's working to find a solution for an issue. At number three, the Indian skipper averages 63.65 with 36 tons and 47 half-centuries. 9676 of his ODI runs have been scored from this position. Enough reason to continue at that spot.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Jewel Samad