After enduring pain, agony and disappointment for five days and two ODIs, the Men in Blue redeemed themselves in the 3rd ODI in Canberra on Wednesday to remind the world that they are no pushovers. The T20Is start in just over a day’s time, but chapter one needs to be scrutinized before we move on.
Mayank Agarwal - C
Brimmed with confidence, carried over IPL form and gave the side lightning-quick starts, but was guilty of not cashing in on starts on flat wickets. Showed enough promise and was unlucky to have been overlooked for third ODI.
Shikhar Dhawan - C+
Threatened to take Australia by storm through a blitzing 74 in the first ODI, but lost direction as the series progressed. Was often caught in two minds, straddled between aggression and accumulation and ended up squandering a golden opportunity to make a strong statement.
Shubman Gill - B
Looked at ease and complete control from start to finish in his only outing. Oozed class and reminded why he’s considered a generational talent; matched skipper Kohli shot-by-shot. However, like Mayank, failed to make the start count and threw wicket away at the wrong time. Impressive, nevertheless.
Virat Kohli - B+
A borderline A by anyone else’s standards, but only a high B by his own. Found the perfect rhythm and tempo in match two after an absurdly aggressive start in match one, but, as has been the case with him in ODIs since World Cup, failed to get that elusive three-figure score. Did well to amass runs, but simply did not showcase his ruthless old self.
Shreyas Iyer - E
Barring an innocuous 38 in the second game, causing no harm to the Aussies and, in fact, proved to be a weak link due to his short ball woes. Struggled to figure out a formula to score runs and never looked at ease at any point in the series. Was tormented by pace, but, more disappointingly, also did not assert dominance versus spin. A series to forget.
KL Rahul - D+
Contrary to the New Zealand series, looked a stranger to the No.5 role. Suffered one too many lapses in concentration and failed to galvanize the middle-order. Was guilty of playing myriad dots even in the valiant 76 he scored in the second ODI and left the team in precarious positions in the other two. Was solid behind the stumps, nevertheless.
Hardik Pandya - A+
India’s best batsman of the series - by some distance. Quashed doubts that surrounded his ability knocks and proved that he’d walk into the side as a specialist batsman. Game-reading, decision-making and shot selection were all world-class; was unlucky to have not notched up at least one ton.
Ravindra Jadeja - B
Did not provide potency with the ball, but made up for the lack of wickets with some valuable runs. Reaffirmed that he is now a truly transformed batsman, who could very well be a long-term finisher, but once again raised questions over his versatility as a bowler.
Yuzvendra Chahal - E
Looked a shadow of his classic self. Uncharacteristically resorted to defensive bowling, was never one step ahead of the batters and went through the motion throughout the series, allowing the batsmen to dismantle him at will. Pretty much bowled himself out of the second spinner’s slot.
Navdeep Saini - F
Thought to be the solution to India’s third-seamer woes, turned out to be the side’s single biggest problem-child; an aberration. Apart from being inconsistent and unreliable, also made life difficult for other seamers by releasing pressure. Showed no intelligence, learnt no lessons, constantly bowled full and straight and paid the price for naivety. Might have also hurt his red-ball chances through his showing in the ODIs.
Mohammad Shami - C-
Seemed to lack the usual bite with the ball, but, still, created more opportunities than any other Indian seamer. Did not look 100% and was often put off by the indiscipline of his compatriots but ensured to stick to his strengths and plans despite the assault launched by the Aussies. But despite picking 4 wickets, could and should have fared a lot better than he did.
Kuldeep Yadav - C+
Started his spell off conservatively, looking to contain rather than attack, but grew in confidence as the game - his only match of the series - progressed. Corrected his length after initially straying too short and inspired more confidence than Chahal, but lacked that x-factor which once made him stand-out. Still looks a battered bowler in search of a renaissance.
T Natarajan - B-
Struggled to hit his lines and lengths in the middle phase, after an extremely brisk start, but was at his usual yorker-nailing best the moment death overs beckoned. Showed incredible mettle, mental toughness and doughtiness after being dismantled by Maxwell, and bounced back in style to finish strong. Never looked out of his depth; showed that he’s here to stay.
Shardul Thakur - A+
Played the Canberra ODI with a point to prove and pretty much showed the management and skipper Kohli what the side had been missing: street smartness and nous. With luck scalped the big wicket of Steve Smith, but did not put a foot wrong all game. Made the ball swing in his own, physics-defying way and executed the cutters and knuckle-ball to perfection. Probably regained his position as the side’s third seamer.
Jasprit Bumrah - C+
Bowled the worst he ever has in the first two ODIs, but regained form, rhythm and confidence on a helpful Canberra wicket to send a timely reminder that he oozes quality. Initially struggled to hit ‘ODI mode’, but seemed to find his ‘zone’ in the third ODI. An appalling series by his standards, but will hope that the final ODI performance sets him up the rest of the tour.