Indian cricket team were on a roll, post their 0-2 defeat in T20Is, and won the first two ODIs of the ongoing series versus Australia. However, not many would have given the visitors a chance to stage a comeback. The Australians defied the odds and levelled the series to go into the fifth and final ODI with the result still to be determined.
While India have a superior record versus the visitors at the venue of the fifth ODI — Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi — Virat Kohli and Co have their task cut-out ahead of the decider. They are on the cusp of losing their maiden ODI series, since 2015, at home on Wednesday.
India haven’t lost a single ODI series at home since October 2015. Their last series defeat came in the hands of AB de Villiers-led South Africa. At that time, former skipper MS Dhoni was the man in-charge.
India trailed 0-1 before they levelled the series twice, and headed into the decider with momentum in their grasp. However, South Africa posted 438 for 4 and in reply hosts managed only 224 (all-out). As a result, India lost the series decider by a whopping 214-run margin.
Since then, the Men in Blue have been on a winning spree, at home, in the shorter format. They defeated New Zealand (in 2016 and 2017), Australia, England and Sri Lanka in 2017 and West Indies in 2018. Out of these 6 series, the Indians were pushed by the Black Caps on both occasions when the series was stretched till the decider only for the hosts to prevail.
From Australia’s perspective, Aaron Finch and his troops have a chance to defy history. Till now, there have been only four instances of a team winning the series after being 0-2 down at one stage. South Africa have done it twice (versus Pakistan in 2003 and against England in 2016), Pakistan did it once (versus India in 2005) whereas Bangladesh stunned Zimbabwe in 2005.
Australia have never managed to win a series from 0-2. With two victories on the trot, the visitors have the momentum going forward. They will be eager to give their best and rewrite history. If they win, it will also be Australia’s first series win on Indian soil since 2009.
Will India keep their winning streak at home intact? Or, Australia will march ahead to win their first-ever series after the scoreline being 0-2.