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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where do Australia and India go from here?

India won the series 2-0 against Australia. Though the scoreline looks convincing enough, the performance displayed by the Indians in the series was dominating, to say the least. This was attested by Ricky Ponting at the end of the final test. The Australians seemed to have no answers to the various queries posed by the Indian batsmen and bowlers together.

Ishant Sharma was adjudged Man of the Series but he was not alone in the bowling department. He had great support from Zaheer Khan and the spinners. The batsmen scored runs by the dozen in each test and did not let the grip loosen at any time. This was in direct contrast to the performance of the Aussie players.

Except the last test, the Australians had no way of taking the 20 indian wickets in a test match. The Aussie support staff also did not have any clue on how to reign in the Indians. Australia will no longer be the force outside their country as they have been in the last decade. They will continue to be the the superior force at home - it is very difficult for anyone to beat them in a series still. Their performance in a test series against the South Africans will determine if they are on the decline.

As far as the Indians, this series gave further proof of their emergence as a cricketing super-power, not only in terms of financial prowess alone. They had won series in the Caribbean Isles, Pakistan and England, won test matches in Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa. At home, they were defeated only by the Aussies in the previous tour. With their victory now, they have managed to get their record straight.

It is not to say that they have become the No.1 cricketing team - for that, they have to win series in either South Africa or Australia. Their batting stalwarts will start their path towards retirement - the quality of their replacements will determine if the recent glory can be maintained. The bowling department seems to be in good hands with quality backup also. The captaincy is in the good hands of MS Dhoni, who will lead the team to the next level.
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