Always looking for a motivational edge, Australia coach Justin Langer asked his charges to cast their minds back to November as they prepared to face India in Delhi.
The fifth ODI served as a high-stakes series decider which the tourists won by 35 runs, but it was also the culmination of some four months of hard work for Langer and many members of the team.
India played 11 matches in Australia earlier this summer, squaring off in three Twenty20s, four Tests and three one-dayers.
Australia’s tour of India featured seven games; two T20s and five ODIs.
The scoreline during that combined stretch was delicately placed at 7-7 when the final match started in Delhi.
“We used that as a bit of motivation,” Langer said.
“Incredibly proud of the boys … it’s been an incredible arm-wrestle from the moment India arrived in Australia.
“To end a really, really, really tough summer against a very good Indian side and have won eight games, drawn one and one no result – it’s a pretty good achievement.”
Langer could see confidence building despite Australia suffering a 2-1 ODI home series loss to Virat Kohli’s team.
“We were getting closer and closer … we were moving in the right direction,” he said.
Langer wouldn’t be drawn on what the result would mean regarding the World Cup but made it clear the 3-2 series win on the sub-continent carried plenty of importance for a range of reasons.
However the result lifted a massive weight off the tourists shoulders as Australia banked their first ODI series win in India since 2009.
It was also their first overseas ODI series win since 2016, first ODI series win since 2017 and gives Langer’s side plenty of momentum in their march towards the World Cup.
“We know how hard it is to win in India,” Langer said.
“To win this series, particularly after being 2-0 down, is a brilliant achievement … it means a lot to us.
“Winning the T20 series was a huge achievement as well, because we know India have been the kings of white-ball cricket over the last little bit.
“India got the better of us in Australia, although it was so tight, then we were able to get the better of India out here.”
Kohli suggested the tourists were hungrier in the final three ODIs of the series, likening their approach to that which India adopted in Australia.
“We were more brave than them in the pressure situations in Australia,” he said.
“Here, when they sensed that they had a foot in the door they made sure they didn’t let us close the door.
“It’s good for their confidence … they deserved to win.”