Australia ends two-year one-day series drought
It was a game that had everything - a stunning century, a bizarre dismissal, an early collapse, a huge fightback, a flying bat and a thrilling finish - but in the end Australia claimed a famous victory over India in India.
A 37-run win in the fifth and deciding ODI in Delhi was always in reach of Australia with a competitive score and tight bowling setting up the result.
But the victory has greater significance as Australia claimed a stunning come-from-behind series win for a huge confidence boost ahead of the World Cup.
The win secured a series of records for Australia, adding to the marks set in game four where we smashed our biggest ever second innings total, recorded our biggest successful chase and the fifth highest successful chase of all-time.
The 3-2 result snaps a series losing streak in ODIs in India that dates back to a seven-game series in 2009.
The win is Australia's first since they hosted Pakistan in January 2017, snapping a streak of six consecutive series defeats - Australia's worst run of all-time.
No other Australian team has been able to come back from 2-0 down in a five-match series and no team has ever done it to India before.
Australia are just the fifth team in history to achieve the feat.
After a long lean period for Australia, the performance has come at just the right time with the World Cup around the corner.
Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden said the series win showed plenty of character for the side.
"It's amazing how a sporting field can be famine or feast and it's been famine for Cricket Australia," Hayden said in commentary.
"The drought has been broken in this country which is remarkable really when you think about the level of competence from India going into the World Cup as favourites.
"There has been down and then down with no real significant up. It just goes to show you the courage required to win a series in this country but also to gather and muster the strength without some of your formidable players - your Smiths, your Warners, your Starcs."
For captain Aaron Finch, it was an "unbelievable" performance.
"The resilience we showed and the fight we showed being down 2-0, it would have been easy to roll over and the small moments in the game drift away and India win the series," he said.
"The fight we showed, we've had our backs against the wall for quite a while now so I'm really proud of the group."
There were well-wishes from across the cricketing world for the impressive feat. Former Aussie Test seamer Trent Copeland wrote on Twitter: "Seriously incredible result from 2-0 down away from home. What a springboard into a World Cup campaign! Well done boys."
Ex-Australian opener Ed Cowan was just as impressed. "A few teams may start looking over their shoulders in the coming months. Incredible," he tweeted.
Michael Clarke also tweeted his congratulations as Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins soaked up the historic win. Even Indian legends, who were no doubt disappointed with the result, doffed their cap to the Aussies.
Just the 5th time a team has won an ODI series after trailing 0-2:— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab) 13 March 2019
- South Africa won 3-2 in Pakistan in 2003
- Bangladesh won 3-2 v Zimbabwe in 2005
- Pakistan won 4-2 in India in 2005
- South Africa won 3-2 v England in 2016
- Australia won 3-2 in India in 2019#INDvAUS
Australia again started well with Finch and Usman Khawaja putting on 76 for the first wicket until the Aussie captain departed.
But Khawaja took over, scoring a second century for the series and taking his tally to 383 runs at 76.60 in the five matches.
His huge tally was enough to earn him both the man of the match and man of the series awards. "It's a lot of fun scoring hundreds and even more winning games," Khawaja said.
"To come back from 2-0 down was a terrific effort from the guys. It's never easy to beat India at home so very excited."
Khawaja and Peter Handscomb (52 off 60) combined for another big partnership which had Australia looking for more than 300.
But when Khawaja and Maxwell fell to almost identical dismissals - caught at cover by Virat Kohli - and Handscomb followed close behind, the momentum stalled with Australia dropping to 7/229 in the 46th over.
Only some late order hitting from Jhye Richardson (29 off 21) and Cummins (15 off 8) pushed Australia to a competitive 272.
Regular wickets, a rare failure from Virat Kohli and a bizarre stumping with Rohit Sharma losing the grip on his bat saw India drop to 6/132 in the 29th over and left Kedar Jadhav to mount a comeback with the tail.
A brisk 91-run stand between Jadhav (44 off 57) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (46 off 54) inspired India to a late challenge but it was too little too late as Australia took the final wicket with the final delivery to claim a famous victory.
Allan Border Medallist Cummins continued to lead the bowling attack with 14 wickets at an average of 15 with Adam Zampa also contributing 11 wickets.
With the World Cup coming up quickly, Cummins said it would be a tough job for selectors to narrow down the top performers to just 15 players.
"We always seem to peak around the World Cup," he said post match. "I wouldn't want to be a selector, it's going to be a tough job whittling the team down to 15 and there are obviously a few to come back as well. Especially the batsmen, I thought the way they played the spin let alone the quicks, to get those scores on these kind of wickets, they made it look a lot easier than they were."
Australia has another chance to impress ahead of the World Cup with another five-match series against Pakistan in the UAE starting on Friday March 22.
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