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VICTORIA BITTER ODI SERIES V INDIA

Canberra classic has us buzzing

22 January 2016
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A stop-off at the Bradman Museum in Bowral for Steve Smith and the Australian ODI squad capped an amazing trip to the nation's capital

About the Writer:
 @stevesmith49

Steve is the 45th Test captain of Australia, one-day and T20 captain, and is a world-class batsman

There's no doubt that Wednesday night's win over India at Manuka Oval was one of the best that I've been involved with as an Australia player, given the circumstances we found ourselves in and the top-shelf quality of our opposition.

It wasn't looking great for us when India were 1-277 and them needing 72 to win at less than a run per ball.

You generally see a batting side get home quite easily from that position, but great credit to our boys and their 'never-say-die' attitude.

We were able to build a bit of pressure, take a couple of wickets and slow the run rate, and then continued to take wickets as we mounted what turned out to be a fantastic comeback led by John Hastings and Kane Richardson.

WATCH: India's spectacular Canberra collapse

As Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli kept building their partnership, our plan was always that a wicket or two might really change the complexion of the match but getting that breakthrough was proving to be pretty tough.

They just kept finding the boundary rope, and out there in the middle it just felt like every time they hit the ball it went into a gap.

That's how well they were both playing.

But we also knew that India's middle-order batting was quite inexperienced with a few guys making their international debuts in this series, so we thought if we got a wicket or two we could put some pressure on and perhaps squeeze them a bit.

And when we did that, we were able to get a few of them to play big shots as the run rate grew, which helped us pick a few more wickets and it all just seemed to snowball from there.

That win has given us even more confidence and we head to Sydney today with a great opportunity to complete a five-nil series clean sweep against one of the best one-day teams in the world, which would be a great feat if we can get there at the SCG on Saturday.

WATCH: Smith's entertaining Canberra cameo

Yesterday's trip from Canberra to Sydney also gave us a chance to do a couple of things that aren't usually part of the Australian summer.

Firstly, to travel together by bus which is normally something we only do on an Ashes trip in the UK where the distances between playing venues aren't quite so vast.

And along the way, we also became the first Australia men's team in 26 years to visit the Bradman Museum in Bowral, and it was great for all of us to see some of the magnificent new displays that are on show there as well as soak up the history of the museum, the ground and the town.

Watch what happens when Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell take on Sir Don's famous training technique at The International Cricket Hall of Fame!More videos from a great day out coming soon...

Posted by Australian Cricket Team on Wednesday, 20 January 2016

As much as we all know about Sir Donald Bradman's achievements and his contributions to cricket in Australia, it helped to give us a different perspective, especially with the memorabilia that's been collected from all over the world along with items from his own playing days.

Certainly the bats that he used to set all those incredible Test and first-class scoring records were not quite as big as the ones that David Warner carries around with him – I think four or five of Sir Donald's taped together would make a fair comparison.

The Australian cricket team at the Bradman Museum // Getty

Once the VB Series is completed on Saturday, we turn our attention to the three KFC T20s against India starting in Adelaide on Australia Day – which is also the day that India celebrates its Republic Day – and those games will be a crucial part of our preparation for the World T20 in March.

That should be a fantastic day at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, given the dual national celebrations and the fact that South Australian fans will no doubt turn out in force as they usually do to make it a memorable occasion.

While we always want to win every series that we're involved in, these matches also provide an opportunity to try out a few different players in the 20-over format.

Quick Single: 'Wild Thing' back for India T20s

Particularly as David Warner and I will only be playing in the first game before we have a short break ahead of leaving for New Zealand to get ready for the ODI and Test matches over there.

Of course, the captaincy duties for our T20 team rest with Aaron Finch and so I'll be looking forward to the opportunity of simply going out there as a player on Australia Day to try and score a few runs and maybe take a couple of catches.

I'm sure it will be great fun.

If Finchy asks for my input on any of the on-field decisions I'll be happy to weigh in, but otherwise I'm more than happy to leave it to him and just focus on whatever I can to help Australia win.

As for the Test squad that was announced this week to travel to New Zealand for those two crucial matches next month, it's great to see it includes some very good swing and seam bowlers because that's the sort of conditions we're expecting over there.

Quick Single: Bird, Sayers bolt into Test squad

Some pitches with a bit of grass on them that are conducive to guys who can move the ball in the air and off the wicket, and we've got some guys in that 14-man squad who can play that role really well.

We've seen Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird perform at Test level, and I had a bit to do with Chadd Sayers when we toured England with the Australia A team a couple of years ago, so I know what he's got to offer.

Quick Single: New calling for old-fashioned Chadd

He hits good areas with his bowling, he's got a large 'tank' which means he can run in all day if needed to, and I'm sure if he gets his opportunity he'll be successful.

The way that results have gone in the current Test series between South Africa and England means it's now up to us to achieve our big goal of returning to the number one ranking in Test cricket, which is a key plank in our overall aim of being ranked number one in all three formats.

It will be a tough series over there against the Black Caps, they're a good side as we saw in the recent Tests against them in Australia and they'll be an even tougher opponent on their home soil.

So we'll have to be at our absolute best to win both Tests in Wellington and Christchurch, but at least we know that our chances of finishing the Test championship year at number one are in our own hands.

Quick Single: Aussies close in on top Test spot

And after last night's win in Canberra, we have great confidence that we can win matches from virtually any position.