Australia were staring down the barrel in the five-match ODI series against India after losing the Hyderabad ODI by six wickets and the Nagpur match by eight runs. It seemed their woes against India would be prolonged and their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 preparations were going to take a severe hit. However, Usman Khawaja smashed his maiden ton and the Australian bowlers held their nerve against a brilliant onslaught by Virat Kohli to win by 32 runs in Ranchi. In Mohali, Peter Handscomb led from the front with a maiden century but Ashton Turner’s brilliant 84 off 43 balls helped Australia chase down 359, the highest successful chase by a visiting team in ODIs in India. In Delhi, Khawaja smashed another ton and backed up by a wonderful bowling performance, Australia won the Delhi match to achieve a remarkable turnaround.
The win snapped Australia’s woeful run in ODIs. This was their first win in a bilateral series since 2017, when they had won 4-1 against Pakistan at home. This was their first win in India since 2009 and they had breached the Feroz Shah Kotla fortress for the first time since 1998. However, the significant achievement for Australia was that this was the first time in their ODI history that they had won a series after trailing 0-2. In the past, excluding the India vs Pakistan 2005 series which was a six-match series, this is only the fourth instance of a team bouncing back from 0-2 down to win the series.
The only other instances of a team bouncing back from 0-2 down to win the series was South Africa vs Pakistan in 2003, Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe in 2005 and South Africa vs England in 2016. The fact that Australia won the series overseas makes it even more special, making them only the second team after South Africa to achieve this feat.
In the 2003 series between Pakistan and South Africa in Pakistan, the hosts got off to a great start by winning the first two games at Lahore by eight runs and 42 runs respectively. In the third ODI at Faisalabad, South Africa clinched the game by 13 runs thanks to the Duckworth-Lewis method and they leveled the series with a six wicket win in Rawalpindi. Heading into the final ODI at the same venue, Pakistan were bowled out for 192 and South Africa won the match by seven wickets.
In the 2005 series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the hosts got off to a bad start by losing the first two games in Dhaka and Chittagong by 22 and 31 runs. Earlier, they had secured their first-ever Test series win and it seemed all their hard work was going to be undone. However, Bangladesh bounced back and leveled the series with a 40-run win and 58-run win in the next two ODIs. Heading into the final ODI, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 198 and Bangladesh clinched the match to celebrate their first-ever ODI bilateral series win.
In 2016, South Africa had a mountain to climb at home against England. They had lost the Test series 1-2 and suffered defeats in the first two ODIs by 39 runs and five wickets. However, Quinton de Kock (135) and Hashim Amla (127) helped South Africa chase down 319 and in the fourth ODI, Chris Morris blasted 62 off 38 balls to help South Africa level the series with a one-wicket win in Johannesburg. AB de Villiers hit a century as South Africa made a remarkable turnaround.
With the win in Delhi, Australia have now become the first nation in cricketing history to win an ODI and Test series after trailing 0-2. In the 1936/37 Ashes against England, England won the first two Tests by 322 runs and by an innings and 22 runs. In a rain-ruined game in Melbourne, Sir Don Bradman made an inspired move by reversing the batting order as Australia won the match by 365 runs. In the fourth Test, Australia leveled the match with a 148-run win in Adelaide and they produced a stunning effort in the final Test in Melbourne to win by an innings and 200 runs to win the series 3-2.
With this victory, Australia’s chances at the ICC Cricket World Cup has received a massive boost.