Australia sealed a remarkable series win over India with a comprehensive six wicket victory at Guwahati on Sunday giving them an unassailable 4-2 lead in the best of seven series.
There are a number of factors which make this win all the more remarkable, limited overs cricket to the Indian fans seems to be more the Holy Grail unlike in England or Australia where test cricket seems to still be the pinacle with most fans and players. To beat India in their own backyard in one of their preferred formats is a decent achievement in itself.
Before we get to the injuries, the side was already going through a period of transformation with new faces such as Cameron White, Callum Ferguson and James Hopes being given a chance to establish themselves, on the whole the new faces seemed to fit in quite well which was promising for Ricky Ponting after the disapointment of the Ashes series defeat.
Then we can take into account the amount of cricket Australia are currently in the middle of playing. They have already played in the World Twenty20, The Ashes series, seven ODI’s against England, the ICC Champions Trophy and then a large proportion of the team were involved in the Champions League tournament for a couple of weeks before the current seven match series against India.
Six players were part of the Victoria and New South Wales squads who both made the semi-finals. Of the six, three of them, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz and Doug Bollinger of New South Wales played for their state side in the final, two days before the start of this series.
Then there is the injuries, already without the services of front line players Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke, added to that up and coming Callum Ferguson before the start of the tournament.
They then had to cope with the loss of Brett Lee after one match, followed by James Hopes, Tim Paine, Peter Siddle and Moises Henriques, not to mention the fact that Mitchell Johnson had to play through the series carrying an ankle injury that would surely have been rested given different circumstances.
This series victory must be one of the most satisfying of Ricky Ponting’s career. After all the negative talk about his captaincy after the Ashes defeat, Australia have beat England 6-1 in an ODI seres, won the Champoins Trophy and now won this series.
If it had been done with a settled side it would have been a good victory, but to do it with a makeshift team of replacements, and further down the line replacements of replacements and at times a team made up only of who is fit to play is a remarkable achievement.