Australia's players congratulate teammate Pat Cummins, second from left, after he dismissed India's Shikhar Dhawan during the final one day international cricket match.
Australia's players congratulate teammate Pat Cummins, second from left, after he dismissed India's Shikhar Dhawan during the final one day international cricket match. Altaf Qadri/AAP Photos

BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: Can we climb the mountain to a Cup?

CRICKET: Australia has fired a warning shot heard right around the world after completing a historic one-day series win against India on the sub-continent.

The Aussie side battled back from 2-0 down in the series to win the final three games, polishing it off with a 35-run win in Delhi highlighted by an Usman Khawaja century.

The three confidence-building victories came after Australia had won just four of their past 26 completed one-dayers, and have come at a perfect time for the side.

Australia will aim to defend its ICC World Cup trophy in England at the end of May, and only three months ago that appeared at very long odds.

But are we now a certainty after beating the world's number one One Day International side?

MOOSE ELKERTON: We're good, but we're not that good yet

WHILE their extraordinary series win in India might have proven Australian cricket has turned a corner, it is still a long way to climb to reach World Cup glory.

Heading into the tournament, which has had a major facelift for this instalment, Australia appears to be at the peak of its powers.

But we cannot forget our poor performance on home soil only five months ago when India gave us a touch up.

We also came very close to losing this series in the sub-continent. It is not often a side scores 350-plus in the first innings and goes on to lose.

In that instance it was the little-known Ashton Turner who rescued us from the fire. The same Turner who will likely make way for Steve Smith at the World Cup.

While I am immensely proud of our effort in India this past fortnight, one series does not make a side.

This is the most open World Cup in recent memory.

New Zealand are in white-hot form both in limited overs and Test cricket. Tom Latham is quickly becoming one of the most lethal batsmen while Kane Williamson is easily in the top three in the world.

England are also undeniable after a topsy-turvy tour of the West Indies, and on home soil they won't be easily beaten.

While they will hurt after this series, India will also enter the Cup at very short odds, while the Windies have the ability to turn it on at the drop of a hat.

That is a lot of what-ifs for the Aussies to overcome.

Even with Smith and Dave Warner back, I can't see us taking home the Cup. But we should make the semi-finals.

ADAM HOURIGAN: Aussies right in the hunt for World Cup trophy

IT MAY have never crossed their mind many months ago when they put us to the sword, but India may have just played Australia into semi-favouritism for the World Cup.

Absolute long shots over the past few years when it seemed like we could barely win a game home or abroad, now our new players watching the consummate professional Indians close-up at the 50-over match might have rubbed off.

Suddenly our middle-order is not making ridiculous shots. There's a steady pace, and a build-up. No panic, and then with wickets in hand, whether it's Ashton Turner chasing down 350, or Jhye Richardson with some late over hitting with purpose and not the usual reckless abandon.

Add to that the absolute class of Pat Cummins, and a premier spin bowler in Adam Zampa (who would've thought when he first started bowling darts?) and Australia are back in line to be genuine contenders for a title they have historically dominated.

It won't be easy. New Zealand is in imperious form, as are the Pakistanis, England have shown glimpses of brilliance and the West Indies could do anything. We have a weakness that our captain, Aaron Finch, will still struggle against a moving Duke ball early, and will probably be dropped for Warner, and the X-factor that is Steve Smith could mean we either bust or boom. Whatever happens, it's game on for Aussie cricket fans, and just in the nick of time.



Campaign signals end of political career for Cansdell

premium_icon Campaign signals end of political career for Cansdell

SFF candidate for Clarence Steve Cansdell humble in final defeat

Harwood claim North Coast grand final victory

premium_icon Harwood claim North Coast grand final victory

Minor premiers claim four wicket win over Sawtell

Grafton race in honour of 'Moose'

premium_icon Grafton race in honour of 'Moose'

'He made himself a personality. He wasn't just a name in the paper.'