Nobody can say we faced inferior Australia side: Ravi Shastri praises India after series win

The last time India defeated Australia in a bilateral ODI series (2018-19), the hosts’ two main batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith were serving their one-year ball-tampering ban. This time, when Australia were touring India for 3-match ODI series in the New Year, they not had Warner and Smith back in the side, but also uncapped Marnus Labuschagne, who had an extraordinary summer with four centuries and three half-centuries in only five Test.

Against a dominant Australian side with seamers like Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, India faced a 10-wicket defeat in the series opener in Mumbai that prompted many to write India off in the series. But the hosts came back strong to not level the series in Rajkot but also re-assert their home dominance with a 7-wicket win in Bengaluru.

With this win, India also avenged their 3-2 defeat against Australia that they suffered just before the World Cup 2019. After the 2-1 series win at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday, India head coach conceded that nobody can say that his boys played an inferior Australia side.

“This team, the boys showed great character. Nobody can say we played an inferior Australia side. They got a thrashing in Mumbai, and then to win two games, with all the travel, and with Australia winning all three tosses,” Shastri said in a post-match interview.

Rohit Sharma (119) and Virat Kohli (89) were involved in a 136-run stand to put India on the course of the victory while Shreyas Iyer remained unbeaten on 44 to see India home with 15 balls to spare. Earlier, Mohammed Shami picked 4 wickets as Indian bowlers restricted Australia to 286 in 50 overs.

“Virat and Rohit batted well, and Shreyas will get a lot of confidence from this innings. If sides are looking to take us apart in the last 10 overs, then we have a lot of variety. The game might be 130 years old, but that [the yorker] is still the best ball in the world.”

“The exposure they [youngsters] get against this Australian outfit will stand them in good stead. Their mindset will be entirely different. Young Saini is quick, and if he gets it right, he’ll tickle a few. Really proud of the guys – I thought they were magnificent,” Shastri said.

Iyer, who failed to any contribution in the first two ODIs, conceded that this Australian attack was the best one he had faced thus far.

“I have seen them bowling, but coming and playing against them is different. To be honest, as many matches I have played, they have been the best bowling attack. Performing against the best bowling attack gives you the satisfaction and confidence that you can go play anywhere. I had decided to stay till the end, take every blow as they decided to attack my body. I had my plans and executed it well.”

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