Rain has the final say in Mumbai

Cricket: One-day series: Aussies win series 4-2 after total washout

Rain has the final say in Mumbai

Ponting with the trophy

Two super soppers and scores of ground staff worked incessantly, trying to minimise the damage the elements had done over the last 24 hours. But the smash-up was so total that a few hours of work could not cover it up, bringing an ungainly end to a well-fought series.

Rains of varying intensity, but persistent all the while, made the match impossible to start at the scheduled time of 2.30 pm.

The worst fears of spectators, who braved rain and distance to come to the DY Patil stadium, materialised at 5.05 pm when the umpires and the match referee decided to call off the seventh and final one-dayer between India and Australia.

The elemental fury also meant the venue will have to wait some more time to stage its first international match, and the lingering feeling of a high-class venue getting robbed of some exciting moments further saddened an already clumsy day.

After all, a series that provided some dazzling moments over the last fortnight did not deserve such a graceless end. The abiding memory of this contest will have a touch of agony to it, the sight of Sachin Tendulkar walking off to the pavilion with dejection written all over his tired face will last forever in the minds of cricket lovers.
The exuberance and character of his 175 in Hyderabad was such that it did not deserve anything less than ultimate glory. But sometimes, even Tendulkar cannot overcome fate!

India had their moments in the series, but their isolated brilliance was not enough to stop the Australians, spirited, focused and professional.

The visitors were successful in producing multiple heroes during the course of the series. Shane Watson stepped up the pedal whenever the occasion demanded, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey were amazingly consistent, Doug Bollinger was incisive and Mitchell Johnson, pedestrian most of the times but bowled a lively spell when it mattered most in Guwahati to wreck Indian top order.
Officials watch ground staff cover the ground at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai, Wednesday
The Australians’ collective will to win enabled them to tide over the absence of impact players like Brett Lee and Peter Siddle, who was exceptional while containing Tendulkar for most part of the four matches he played here.

The series win also underlined the fact that the Aussies are not yet ready to surrender their world number one tag, and it will take a Herculean effort from others to knock them off the top perch.

Bench strength

The absence of charismatic names was held against the Australians, but the youngsters proved the bench strength of the Antipodeans.
Here the leadership of Ricky Ponting too should be credited for Australia’s series win as the Tasmanian shepherded the team with confidence and purpose without ever compromising on his equally responsible role as the premier batsman of his side.
However, the series will also be remembered for reminding all about the relevance of the one-day format.

There was a lot of talk about the outmoded nature of the 50-over version, especially after the advent of Twenty20. But this series emphatically proved that one-day cricket can co-exist with Tests and T20, if staged properly and at the right venues.

All the first six venues witnessed sell-out crowds and the scene would not have been any different in Mumbai but for the weather’s intervention. However, the seven matches across India were a bit elongated, and the mandarins can think about restricting such series to best of five in future.

Having said that, there was no dearth of excitement, and Ponting was justified in defending the one-day format in the wake of the happenings in this series.
“There were packed houses in all venues, and we have seen some quality cricket throughout the series. I think all the three formats have their own space in the calendar, let’s see how it all pans out,” Ponting said.

If ODIs can bring out such exciting fare, then its future will be safe.

Watson man of the series

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was named the man of the series. Watson was third in the Australian run-scorers’ list behind Hussey (313) and Ponting (267) with 256 runs to his credit.

The 28-year-old Queenslander also took 10 wickets, the highest among the Australians, at a strike rate of 22.

The prize distribution ceremony was held at the team hotel.

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