Dominance is a word that has evaded the Australian side in limited-overs cricket of late, but through their display in the ODIs versus India, the Kangaroos reaffirmed why they will always be a champion side. Aussie Report Cards in recent times have not looked great, but not in this series, though.
David Warner: A-
Turned around his barren run of form in 50-over cricket in spectacular fashion and took the game to India from ball one. Complimented Finch like a dream in both ODIs and twice laid the perfect platform for the middle-order to unleash. From a personal standpoint, however, like Kohli, would be disappointed in not converting fifties into daddy tons. Looked indomitable.
Aaron Finch: A-
Had his fair share of luck across matches but, again, like he’s been doing for the past year and a half, set the tone for the team with the bat. Found a way to score big runs, despite being nowhere near his best, and went a long way in blunting the Indian bowling attack. Was far from his best, but succeeded through unwavering mental fortitude.
Steve Smith: A+
Flawless. Impeccable. Immaculate. Godly. Unleashed a 2.0 avatar that took the Indians - and the whole world - by surprise and sent out a strong message to the visitors ahead of the Tests. Turned everything he touched into gold and was better than all the other batsmen in the series put together. Intimidated the bowlers through his presence; slayed them with his willow. A one-of-a-kind, never-seen-before display. Special performance. Special player.
Marnus Labuschagne: C+
Showed glimpses of why he could someday be a world-class batsman in ODI cricket, but left a lot of runs behind. The tendency to stay busy, impeccable strike-rotation and swift game awareness stood out, but the inability to switch gears at will was exposed. Still raw and coming to terms with the format, and would benefit from getting an extended run at No.4. Would definitely be better off never opening the batting in ODIs ever again.
Marcus Stoinis: C-
Disappointed with the bat despite having the perfect opportunity to flaunt his muscles, but proved the value of his three-dimensionality by pretty much winning his side the first ODI with the ball. Would be gutted to have picked up an injury; could very well have sealed a spot in the side in favourable conditions. The wait for a breakthrough season continues.
Moises Henriques: C+
Picked in the side as a batting all-rounder, but, like Stoinis, excelled more with the ball. Applied a decade-worth of experience to drag Australia home with the ball in the 2nd ODI. Blew a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in third ODI to be a star with the bat, despite the situation being tailor-made. Might struggle to play another ODI in future despite having done reasonably well.
Cameron Green: C-
Looked green and unpolished, but showed fleeting glimpses of why he’s seen as a generational talent. Had India sweating, for a brief while, with both bat and ball, and showed plenty of hunger and desire to succeed. Might currently be suited better to red-ball cricket, but certainly has all the armoury to become a through-and-through match-winner in 50 overs cricket with both bat and ball.
Glenn Maxwell: A+
A victim of memes prior to the tour, proved precisely why he belongs to the top 1% and is one of the greatest white-ball players of the 21st century. Played decisive cameos in each of the first two games and almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the third. Gave no room for criticism, showcased out-of-the-world hitting that left the Indians befuddled. Barring Smith, the only other clearcut contender for the ‘Man of the Series’ award.
Alex Carey: B+
Might very well have gone on to win the third ODI if not for the run-out. Barely got a chance to bat due to the top-order’s monstrous display, but did no harm to reputation through two useful cameos. Also gobbled every single chance behind the stumps. All in all, an extremely tidy display. No impending Josh Philippe threat - for the time being, at least.
Ashton Agar: A-
Changed the dimension of Australia’s bowling attack. Strangled the Indian batters through his immaculate lines and broke the middle-orders back through timely breakthroughs. Blossomed bowling alongside Zampa and turned out to be the most effective spinner on a Canberra wicket that provided some assistance. Did okayish with the bat, but has made himself pretty much undroppable by the virtue of his performance with the ball. A good headache for the selectors going forward.
Adam Zampa: B+
Despite ending the series as the highest wicket-taker, did not quite have the impact he would have desired. Did not have one bad game and churned disciplined performances on wickets where spinners got pasted, but could certainly have bowled more attacking lines, enticing batsmen to take risks. But on the flip side, he is no longer a hit and miss, hot and cold player; he is a genuine, reliable match-winner who is the nucleus of Australia’s white-ball side.
Mitchell Starc: F
Found no swing, no seam, no bounce and sprayed the ball all over the pitch. Aided India - more than Australia - with his performances. Looked a bowler short on both confidence and match practice. Inarguably the worst he’s ever bowled in his career. Worrying signs heading into the Tests.
Sean Abbott: E
Started off well but got jittery as the innings progressed. Struggled to back his strengths and got intimidated by batsmen on one too many occasions. Ended up being too one-dimensional with his approach and did not use his cutters or bouncers to good effect. Might do well with a few more matches under the belt.
Pat Cummins: B-
Didn’t hit the ground running like he’d have desired, but backed himself to come good - and eventually did. Bowled quite a few ‘hit me’ balls in the first game, but curbed it in game two. Coach and captain will also take heart from his performance at the death in the second ODI. Was a tad unlucky and could very well have scalped 2-3 extra wickets, but showed signs that he might torment the Indians once the red-ball games begin; no shortage of heart and consistency.
Josh Hazlewood: A+
The best bowler across both sides - by some distance. Fixed his targets and kept hitting test match lines and lengths, and eventually reaped rewards for his consistency and unwavering willingness to remain patient. Was effective with both the new and old cherry and turned out to be the difference between the two sides in the first two games. Certainly now the number one name in Australia’s ODI teamsheet.