Australia won the first ODI between India and Australia by ten wickets. In stark contrast, they won this second match by zero wickets. Or, as traditionalists would have it, ‘lost this match’.
“Winning overseas must be an obsession.”
It is an age-old statement that every team in cricket look to solidify in their blood to taste success in an unconquered territory.
While for Australia all the realms remain breached, they have found themselves deprived of overseas success against formidable teams in the recent past – especially in whites.
The baggy greens found a way to turn the tables in Edgbaston dramatically. While Australia remained on the back foot for most of the match, they ended up seizing the pivotal moments in the game to sink England. But have Australia set themselves well enough to upstage the hosts for the second successive time?
It is indeed too early to place Tim Paine’s men in that position.
Contrary to Edgbaston where Australia stood little chance to dethrone England, Lord’s is a talisman for them. Despite this, Australia have few things to be positive about. Equivalent to their encounter in the 2005 Ashes series in the first Test at Lord’s, Australia walk into the subsequent game having purged the three lions from an abysmally losing position.
Steve Smith – the linchpin of Australia’s batting in Test cricket – became a thorn yet again in their way. But for retaining the urn, the other batsmen must join him and perform a rescue mission of their own in the event of Smith’s failure to protect their side from imminent danger.
Their bowling stocks are persistently on the rise. And in the face of any jeopardy, Australia have a gifted unit of pacemen to fall back on in the form of adept tailenders as an additional skill.
Amid all this, the tourists could only shrug off the Lord’s threat at their peril. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes proved to be demons at Lord’s when – along with Anderson – they wrecked India last summer. Woakes went two steps ahead, playing a significant role by bowling out Ireland for an embarrassing 38.
Unleashing for the first time in Test cricket by England is likely Jofra Archer. The hosts have significantly pinned their hopes on him to stop the batting maestro Steve Smith and to fill the big shoes left by James Anderson.
Not only this, but Australia have found ways out of nowhere to lose the series after winning the first Test.
It all started when India came back from a drubbing in Pune in 2017 to beat Australia by a 2-1 margin. Though Australia proved to be heavyweights in that series unexpectedly, over-reliance on Smith went against them.
The tour of South Africa in 2018 became yet another instance. By winning the first Test in Durban, Australia made a strong statement. However, the gulf widened as the series progressed. Central to Australia’s humiliating defeat by a margin of 3-1 lay the sandpaper scandal and South Africa’s menacing pace attack.
Success is beginning to knock the doors of the Australian team at a truncated tone. Despite this favourable outcome, complacency has little room.
Tim Paine’s men still have a steep hill to climb to win the series and retain the Ashes as the stakes continue to grow sky-high.