I'd be a fool to call this the end of the Australia supremacy - when I did that last year after their consecutive losses to England and New Zealand, they went on to win the World Cup without losing a match.
But doing some scrutiny never does any harm.
The Australian bowling has been beautifully led by Lee and was outstanding. Bracken, Johnson, and Clark were all good with the ball and Hopes looked better with every game.
The batting was the obvious downfall for the Aussies:
- None of their batsmen averaged over 50 compared to 4 of them who did against India in the September series.
- Ponting and Symonds averaged below 20 in their 10 innings.
- Apart from Gilchrist no batsmen played more than 3 significant innings in the 10 matches.
- Even Gilchrist managed only 4.
Was Ishant Sharma the only difference? Or has Dhoni grown as a captain since his first ODI series as captain in September? Or did Sachin time his return to form to perfection? Were Australia bogged down by the IPL hype and their stand-off with CA? Or were they too sucked into a prolonged Gilchrist farewell? Or did Dhoni, Bhajji, and the rest really get under their skin like no one before?
It was in the end a combination of all of the above I think.
Or maybe the bookies had a hand in this. Nah I doubt it.
Ponting's form is definitely a worry. Sure he scored that 100 but apart from that there was nothing from his bat. The last time an out of form Australian captain lost a home tri-series, he was sacked from the ODI captaincy. That too a year and a half after leading them to a World Cup victory!
Will Ponting go Waugh's way? Will CA tow BCCI's line, the way they have been in all other issues, in following a youth policy? Some people have been calling for it, but is Micheal Clarke ready? Moreso is Australia ready to deal with an ODI team without Gilly and Ponting?
A shift to youth also means leaving out an ageing Hayden. Both his test and ODI partners have hung up their boots and it shouldn't be long before Hayden does as well. Next Australian summer? probably. Next World Cup? Definitely not.
Even Ponting is unlikely to be around the ODI team come World Cup 2011. So maybe the CA should in fact tow the BCCI and build a team that they view as the one to defend their title in 2011.
I did say I'd be a fool to call an end to their supremacy but I do feel that Australia have a lot of questions to answer, particularly regarding their batting.
Where do they go from here? Hopefully Pakistan!
Before I close, a word on Adam Gilchrist. A glowing career has come to an end and the man who defined the role of wicketkeepers as it is known today has hung up his gloves. He will definitely be missed - both by Australia and the fans. Shane Warne ended his career after a 5-0 thumping Ashes victory. Glen McGrath did so after a 3rd World Cup triumph. Gilchrist probably deserved better than both, but then not everything in life is perfect. Thanks to the IPL, we haven't seen the last of him.
Australia have become weaker but I'm still not questioning their supremacy, just wondering what the future holds for them.