Brutal India exposes Australia’s huge batting weakness
Glenn Maxwell remains stuck behind at least seven batsmen in the one-day selection queue despite Australia's middle order desperately needing to find some firepower for next month's tour of South Africa.
India captain Virat Kohli did not check Australia's squad announcement last month and was shocked to learn that the tourists had arrived in Mumbai without the polarising match-winner.
Maxwell's exclusion was put back in the spotlight when captain Aaron Finch conceded that Australia's total of 9-286 in the ODI series-decider in Bangalore was simply not enough.
The Aussies have lost an explosive edge and were unable to accelerate after Steve Smith (131 runs) and Marnus Labuschagne (54) built a strong platform.
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Specialist finisher Ashton Turner (13 and four runs) failed to hit a boundary in the series and has averaged just 16.8 across all formats since he went bonkers with 84 not-out off 43 balls in India last March.
Australia's run-rate of 4.4 from overs 40-45 was costly. But Finch said the Aussies wanted to give their new-look batting line-up of No.4 Marnus Labuschagne, No.5 Alex Carey, No.6 Turner and No.7 Ashton Agar time to gel.
"That middle order in particular haven't played a huge amount of one-day cricket," Finch said.
"They're still learning."
Finch and stand-in coach Andrew McDonald came up with the plan to promote Mitchell Starc to No.5 as a pinch-hitter before the first game, and pulled the trigger in the final ODI.
Starc fell for a three-ball duck.
"We felt as though it was an aggressive move, especially against the left-arm spinner (Jadeja) spinning it into him," Finch said.
"He can smack a few and if he went out there and hit a couple of sixes we were hoping it could potentially change their tactics and they would have to bring one of their quicks back earlier.
"That just didn't happen. I still support the move 100 per cent, it just didn't come off today."
Kohli asked Finch if he had only brought 14 players across in Mumbai.
"(Finch) said, 'Yeah, just 14'. I asked our team management, 'Is Maxwell here?' They said, 'No, he's playing the BBL'," Kohli said.
"So, I was a bit surprised that he wasn't here, especially after the way he performed last year in the T20 series.
"He got a 100 in the last when they won the series here. I was surprised not to see him here because he can bring the spinning option too."
Australia did not change its batting line-up throughout the series and Maxwell appears to also be behind reserves Pete Handscomb and D'Arcy Short.
"He's outside the top seven at the moment," Finch said.
"It's about form, picking players for the right role. Anyone can get there."
Maxwell has averaged 68.2 in the BBL at a strike-rate of 163.9 while also chipping in with some key top-order wickets in the power-play.
Finch blew up at Smith when a mix-up saw the opener run-out on 19 but said they would discuss it and make up over a beer on Sunday night.
The skipper rated Kohli - who was named man of the series - the best ODI player of all time and Rohit Sharma in the top five batters in history after their 137-run stand killed the contest.