A drought-breaking win over India provided Australia with the “template” for what’s needed in the World Cup as Tanveer Sangha looks set to leap ahead of injured Ashton Agar and into the 15-man squad.
Mitch Marsh battled ”full body cramps” in making 96 in intense daytime heat and couldn’t even field he was so “cooked” as Glenn Maxwell, who returned with four wickets in the 66-run win, declared he’ll be ”fresh” for the World Cup after missing the past 10 Australian white-ball games.
With the final 15-man squad for the tournament to be confirmed on Friday, Agar remains at home in Western Australia nursing a calf injury and looms as a likely omission with Sangha, who took 1-61 in his first match in India, the likely replacement.
Maxwell, who returned to Australia after suffering a leg issue before the series in South Africa, revealed he had a cortisone injection as part of his rehab before making his playing return.
“It‘s been a lot of hard work. The South Africa tour was a little bit of a setback,” he said after the win.
“But it probably sped things up as well. I was able to get home and get an injection and get into my rehab. I feel like I’m in a decent place. I feel fresh. I feel like I’ve come into this World Cup nice and fresh and I’m excited to hit the ground running.“
Marsh, who missed just one match in T20 and ODI series first against the Proteas then India, struggled in the hot conditions in Rajkot as he smashed the local bowlers in making 96 off 84 balls.
Taking running out of the equation in the energy-sapping conditions, he swatted 13 fours and three sixes as all four top order batters made half-centuries, laying the platform for Australia to make 7-352.
It was enough to end a run of five-straight ODI losses as Maxwell and the frontline attack of captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all took wickets as India was bowled out for 287.
Marsh said the performance was exactly what the Australians were looking for a week out from their World Cup opener, once again against India on October 8.
“I thought the way we all batted today was the way we want to go about it moving in to the World Cup, it was a really good template of how we want to play out cricket,” he said.
“It gave us an opportunity to have our hitters in at the end, which is what you want, and the bowling was class. We summed up the conditions really well, Tanveer Sangha was brilliant and it was a really good all-round performance.
“Today was a step in the right direction for our team.”
Marsh said the performance of Maxwell, who took career best bowling figures of 4-40, was extra important given the key bowling role he could play in the World Cup.
“For him to come back after not much cricket over the last moths, it was great to see him back,” he said.
“The energy he brings our team, his presence, and the balance that he gives us. We know his batting absolute class but what he can do with the ball is vital to us going deep in to the World Cup.”