A glance down the list of highest ODI totals batting second in the entire history of the format offers a few salient observations. The first of these is that England have four of the top 10, all scored since the last World Cup in 2015 to underline their status as likely favourites for this year's edition of the tournament.

The second is that Ashton Turner's blazing bat in Mohali, building on a platform set by Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja, has edged Australia into the all-time top 10. This has come about in the year of a World Cup where high scoring and judicious use of Twenty20 skills at pivotal times in the 50-over game will doubtless be critical to the outcome.

What makes this more significant is that this is the first time Australia have got anywhere near some of the marks set by England in recent times, having never previously ventured beyond 350 when batting second. As an ODI team, in fact, Australia have very seldom operated as effectively batting second as they do going in first: Mohali is the only score in the nation's top 35 ODI tallies to have been made when chasing.

Understandable then, that Handscomb raved about the confidence injection this result will provide. "This is a really big moment for us," Handscomb said. "We haven't had too much of a debrief yet but it will be something along the lines of 'Take this belief, take this confidence, this momentum, keep building'. Because what we've done today is something special ... this gives us so much confidence. Not only going into the next game but looking forward to the World Cup.

"To chase down 360 [359] against India in India, the boys are going to take so much confidence from that, not only going into the next game but going on to Pakistan and looking forward to the World Cup. This is a really big moment for us and we're really enjoying it.

"The more pressure you can put yourself under going into a World Cup is great. We're starting to see that guys are learning, guys are more relaxed out there and understanding what they can do within their own game and then executing to their strengths, both with bat and ball. It's very, very good prep."

For a long time, it has looked as though Australia's 50-over team are operating without enough clarity of purpose whether with ball or bat in hand. To some degree this has been because Test cricket has taken priority in between World Cups, leaving the ODI side commonly at the mercy of the need to rest and rotate exhausted players. Equally, some of the players first picked for the ODI team have found themselves not at their best even when chosen - Aaron Finch's misadventures this summer being a prime example.

However, after an abortive attempt to stock the team with hitters at the top, not least the now discarded Chris Lynn, Australia started to make some progress in their ODI performance against India at home at the start of the year. Ironically, they did so by slowing down, returning more conventional stroke-makers like Usman Khawaja and Handscomb to the team to help modulate the scoring rate through the middle overs.

Confidence has been slow in arriving, and big scores in the regions recently explored by England have also been elusive. But as Handscomb pointed out, the team coached by Justin Langer and led by Finch have gradually been building up a sense of consistency and ownership about the way they play, and the way they intend on attacking the challenge of a World Cup.

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"If you look at our one-dayers in Australia, we made good progress there, we started to develop our own batting plan or batting signature," Handscomb said. "We keep getting better with each game and we started off nicely with two T20 wins here that gave us a bit of confidence and then we were close in the first two games and then we're starting to click come these two games and hopefully that builds momentum going forward.

"This gives us so much confidence. If you look back on the second T20 as well, where we chased down 189 at Bangalore, that was the start of a little bit of belief there and then to come out and do it again showed it's not a fluke, it's actually a bit of consistency starting to come into this team. And batting plans add a lot of confidence. We're going to execute those plans. Going forward this is a big moment and hopefully we can continue to build on this feeling we've got at the moment."

Circumstances and selections have also played a role, and will continue to do so in the run to the Cup. Travis Head, a fixture in the ODI side for most of the past three years, now finds himself on the outer due to Handscomb's utilisation in the middle order. More immediately, a broken thumb to Marcus Stoinis - after numerous failed chase attempts where his tendency to soak up dot balls has been exposed - meant that Turner was able to gain an opportunity that he claimed with murderous relish in the closing overs at the PCA Stadium.

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"We've seen Ash do this in the Big Bash before, we've seen him do it a couple times now," Handscomb said. "But for him to come out on the world stage, second ODI and play an innings like that is phenomenal and he'll take a lot of confidence going forward as well.

"The thought process was take it as deep as possible because anything can happen. We knew the wicket was going to be good, getting better with dew coming in later, so we just worked on trying to go a run a ball and then hopefully back-end the innings, which worked out beautifully with Ash Turner doing his job.

"I think it became a T20 chase about 15 overs out, it was getting up over 10 an over and close to 12. So we had to look to pull the trigger a couple of times and bring it back. Ash picked his bowlers beautifully, he knew who to target and then other guys to sit on and respect. For a guy playing his second game, that was a beautiful, mature knock."

There are a few caveats to the Mohali result, not least the dew irritating India's bowlers, and the fact that the hosts, with MS Dhoni rested, are in World Cup preparation mode having settled on their preferred "signature" long ago.

This is without mentioning the looming returns of Steven Smith and David Warner, which will create fresh selection headaches for Langer and company even as Turner, Handscomb and Khawaja have staked their claims. Certainly Shaun Marsh's hold on a spot is now looking increasingly wobbly.

But the statistical dent this chase made in Australia's previously grim record batting second, and the confidence the team will derive from doing so, means this is a significant result. For the first time since the last World Cup, Australia looked like a team capable of challenging not only India, but England.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig