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Australia showed what it takes to be the best team

Against all odds, Australia pocketed the series. They lost four regulars during the series yet they are the winners. Australia as a nation remain a powerhouse in the world of cricket, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2009 22:20 IST
Ravi Shastri

Against all odds, Australia pocketed the series. They lost four regulars during the series yet they are the winners. Australia as a nation remain a powerhouse in the world of cricket.

It's Australia's consistency, which is beyond anyone. England have flattered to deceive, South Africa have surged lately and India are always snapping at their heels. Yet, none of them have Australia's innate quality of winning with monotonous regularity.

It's much more than skills. Nobody had foreseen the turnaround they would effect in the last two games. Did Dhoni make a mistake by deciding to bat first on a track, which reduced them to 27 for 5? Did he fear Australia could once again run away with a massive total and bury India under its weight?

In hindsight, he might feel that fielding would have been the better option. The reason I say this is because, in a pressure match like this, it is common knowledge that the first 40 minutes are critical enough to put you on the back-foot if you lose too many wickets.

That's what exactly happened to India when they lost half their side. The afternoon showed there was still some purchase in the wicket for spinners but what India missed was a decent score on the board. India have missed massive starts in this series.

In Guwahati, they found the pair of Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger beyond them. Johnson was at his very best; he rediscovered his in-swingers in the nick of time. Bollinger, without being flashy, picked up the most important of all scalps. If Hyderabad was a gift to Australia by its batsmen, in Guwahati it was the bowlers who put the icing on the cake.

Then Michael Hussey, till the very end, retained his rock-like presence. This defeat will hurt the Indians. Their wins have been the burden of one or two individual performances. Their losses — at least two of them — were in the last overs by as little a margin as three and four runs.

They would now know what it takes to be the best side of the world.

Belief and skills ought to go hand in hand and consistency is the hallmark of champions. Everyone now knows there is still some distance to be covered before this promising side can become a ruthless winner against all comers.