Normally when a series is reviewed, we look at the top batsmen and bowlers of the tournament. But the seven-match ODI series, which was reduced to five owing to rain, was so lopsided that it wouldn’t make any sense to including any bowlers among the top performers. Except for one spell by Mitchell Johnson when he troubled the Indian middle order with his bounce, all the rest were merely there to be massacred. So, as the bowlers try to recover from the pounding, we look back at the star performers with the bat.
Rohit Sharma: The man of the match in the decider and the man of the series as well, Sharma finally overcame his disappointing habit of throwing away starts, at least for this series. With a tally of 491 runs, he was consistency personified. His unbeaten 141 at Jaipur was in many ways the making of the man. Sharma batted out till the end to ensure victory for India. At Nagpur, his 79 was crucial in another massive chase, and he reserved his best for the last. What does one say about the incredible 209 at Bangalore? It was something special.
George Bailey: Wonder what might have happened had the Aussie skipper not run himself out idiotically in the decider. We’ll never know. But, that one moment of madness cannot take away from the fact that Bailey was spectacular throughout the series. Every time he came out to bat, he showed intent, and the runs followed. His scores in the series tell a story in itself – 85, 92*, 98, 156. Bailey ended the series with 478 runs and an average of just under 100. He did not arrive in India with a big reputation, but will go back being held in high regard.
Virat Kohli: Yet again, Kohli proved why he is the best young batsman in the world. Had it not been for Kohli, India wouldn’t have won the series. 344 runs in five innings are impressive numbers, but what they don’t reveal are the circumstances under which they were scored. India were chasing a score well above 350 at Jaipur, and Kohli responded with the fastest hundred by an Indian. The series was on the line at Nagpur after the bowlers had conceded too many, but Kohli once more came to the rescue with a stunning, unbeaten 115.
Shikhar Dhawan: While Sharma was brilliant, one cannot underestimate Dhawan’s contribution. His 284 runs came at a brisk pace, and he gave India the early impetus in most matches. The left- hander smashed 95 at Jaipur, 100 at Nagpur and 60 at Bangalore, India emerging victorious in all three games. If only he had not mocked an injured Shane Watson during the final game, his respect would have been even greater in world cricket.
Glenn Maxwell: The youngster demonstrated why he was the only million dollar buy during the IPL auctions. Maxwell blasted 248 runs in the series, and at a rapid pace. While his 53 at Jaipur and 92 at Ranchi were impressive knocks, the 60 he got off 22 balls at Bangalore was incredible. He smashed almost every ball out of the ground, and brought Australia alive again. Maxwell seems destined for greater glory.
--By A Cricket Analyst