Coming into the 5-match ODI series that saw India hosts Australia before they got into the T20 groove with Indian T20 League, not many knew what to expect. For a few Indians, this was to be a last opportunity to make their case for a themselves ahead of the ICC World Cup in the summer, while for Australia, this was an opportunity to get their act together after the humiliation at home before the World Cup came calling.
The series began in an all but familiar fashion with the Indian skipper Virat Kohli leading the hosts to comfortable wins in the opening two games. Kohli, once again, made batting look as easy as it could get while the Aussies barely get their act together. Shankar, meanwhile, made most of the opportunity that came his way to lead India to victory in the second ODI with a fine last over.
For the Australians, however, it wasn't until the third ODI that they found their man. Usman Khawaja seemed one among the struggling pack until he notched up a well-crafted maiden ODI ton. His innings was laced with 11 fours and a six, with the Australian going at a strike rate of almost 100. The Indian bowlers barely could find a way to counter Khawaja.
Khawaja hit a 104-run knock and shared a 193-run stand with captain Aaron Finch to play a significant role in Australia's 32-run win. That, however, just a teaser of what to come as 32-year-old scored 91 in the fourth before bringing up another century (100) in the fifth tie to become the first Aussie to score two tons against India in a bilateral series.
It would not be hard to argue that the left-hander brought back memories of legendary opener Matthew Hayden as he almost arrogantly walked down the pitch to meet the pacemen's deliveries head-on. Be it his drives, or the cut shots or the sweep shots, Khawaja showcased a wide array of shots that left the Indian bowlers asking questions too often than not.
With the World Cup fast approaching, and Australia struggling to get their combination right ahead of the English summer, Khawaja's from is something that the World Champions can bank upon going into the quadrennial event.