Melbourne: The ODI series in their bag, Australian big-hitter Glenn Maxwell on Sunday said the hosts are “desperate” to achieve a 5-0 whitewash against India and a 3-0 clean sweep of the subsequent T20 series.(Match Report | Scorecard | Highlights)
Maxwell hit 96 runs to guide his side to an unassailable 3-0 lead after the visitors set them a target of 296. He had walked in when Australia were six-down at one stage, but along with James Faulkner held his nerve until the end.
“I was pretty calm at that stage. When Faulkner came out I was hoping he’d score a bit more and I’d be able to sit at the other end and run with him,” said Maxwell after the three-wicket victory.
“But he said he was just going to play normally so I said I’m going to take it on and take the pressure off. It worked the opposite to the way I wanted it to. But it worked out really well because I was able to target bowlers because they had a different field to me and they had a pretty standard field to him. It was a tough wicket to start on so it made me easier for me to improvise and hit it over the infield.”
When asked if he was looking ahead to the World T20, on account of his IPL experience, and the Australian batting’s superiority, he replied, “You have to concentrate on the series you’re in. It’d be naive of us to look too far ahead. We do talk about it off the field and say that we’re looking forward to going over there and getting ready but you’re not mentally preparing for it already.”
“You’ve got to build up to. There are a few games before that here against India that we’re looking forward to. But first up we have to win this series 5-0 which is something we’re desperate to do and then hopefully we can win the T20s 3-0,” Maxwell said.
With one run needed for the win, he was on 96 not out and had to go for a big stroke with the fielders coming in. Maxwell instead holed out.
“I just wanted to hit it. Didn’t care where it went, I just wanted to hit it over the infield if it went for one, two, eight, four. I was just trying to hit it,” he said.
Talking about Australia’s third successive victory chasing against India, the Man of the Match said, “I still remember the 400 chase in Johannesburg and it was 10-15 years ahead of its time. It’s amazing the way our team has been playing and the way we’ve been approaching those chase. I don’t think many teams are doing it like we are at the moment, as comfortably as it looks. To do it three times in a row is pretty phenomenal and probably shows why we’re No.1 in the world.
“It’s a backing from the coach to play with everything on the line and it doesn’t matter if you die trying, as long as you give it a crack. That’s what we’ve been brought up to do and we’ve been doing it really well this series.”
After wins in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia have now won this five-match series, with ODIs in Canberra and Sydney yet to go. There will be a T20I series post this contest.
“It’s a satisfying win because of the amount of players we’re missing from that World Cup side. If you look at the experience we’ve lost from that and our younger inexperienced players can come in, still do the job and perform so well for their country. That goes back to the guys making them feel welcome.
“It’s an easier group to come into than when I first came into the squad when there was Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and guys you’ve been watching on TV and it’s so daunting. I think we have such a fresh group that it’s probably easier for the guys to come in and it makes it a bit easier,” he said.
Maxwell though gave credit to his opponents who put on their best show in the three matches so far, and yet ended up on the losing side.
“I thought they played really well today. Everything clicked for them. On a difficult wicket they probably got away from us in the last few overs. We look at the score with 10 overs left and they were 201 and they got to 295. They got away from us a little bit, which could have happened in the first two games but we bowled really well in those games.
“Their batting order clicked in this game and probably why it went down to the wire more than it did and we lost more wickets. We chased really well tonight like we chased well in the last two games,” he said.