New Delhi: Australia had come into the series against India looking to make the most of a five-match series before the World Cup, and now they stand on the cusp of winning the series when they come out to play the fifth game at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday.
The visiting vice-captain Alex Carey feels that the hard work over the last 12 to 18 months have slowly started to bear fruit as the Aussies head towards the showpiece event.
“We were put under pressure early in the series. Really exciting with series on the line and the boys are very excited. For us, we played some very good cricket even in the first two games, but just fell short. We have been working really hard and success is starting to come. We are really confident going into the final game tomorrow,” he said.
While this team has done well, the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc are expected to return for the World Cup, and Carey feels it is a healthy sign to see such competition for places.
“I hope so. Those are big names waiting to come back. This is very healthy for Australian cricket,” he said.
Commenting on the reason behind the team’s success, Carey said: “If you look across the board, everyone has done well. Usman Khawaja and Ashton Turner have done well, Peter Handscomb scored his first hundred, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell have done well. It is really good to see the players doing well in really high-pressure games.”
The team has negated the spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav quite ably and Carey said that a lot of hardwork has gone behind this.
“We have worked really hard on playing spin bowling at the nets. Getting the rewards of the hardwork for the last 18 months. Also training against some quality Indian spinners at the nets. It will again be a good contest tomorrow. Pleasing to see the performance,” he said.
With young Rishabh Pant missing a few chances behind the wicket in the fourth ODI in Mohali and the spectators demanding M.S. Dhoni’s return, India bowling coach Bharat Arun on Tuesday said “it is unfair to compare the newcomer to a legend”.
Speaking to the media, Arun said the team was in the middle of trying out combinations ahead of the England-Wales World Cup.
“Unfair to compare Dhoni and Pant. Dhoni’s stature is huge. He is a legend. His work behind the stumps is exemplary.
“MSD is a huge influence on the team. We will be trying out different combinations. Not necessarily these combinations will be in the World Cup. Any mistakes, hiccups have to be now. We are extremely cautious,” he said.
Keeping in mind the workload of the players, the Indian team on Tuesday did not train ahead of the final game against Australia at the Kotla.
However, the bowling coach said the team at this point is really happy with the combinations they were trying out going into the mega event starting May 30.
“Considering the workload and the back-to-back matches, we wanted to be mentally fit for the big one,” he said.
Commenting on the last game, Arun said that Aussie batman Turner (84 off 43 balls) must be given credit for his job and he is happy with the way the Indian bowlers have bowled.
“If you see, the success of our bowlers, it has been more than 75 per cent. These things do happen (last game) and I am happy that it happened now and it shows us areas where we can improve before the World Cup.”