India vs Australia 5th ODI Preview
Sydney: Battered and bruised after four consecutive hammerings, India will make a last gasp effort to avoid the humiliation of being whitewashed by an unrelenting Australia when the two sides battle in the fifth and final cricket one-dayer here on Saturday.
The Indians came a cropper while defending three back-to -back 300-plus totals and in the fourth match in Canberra, they bungled inexplicably from a position of strength to fail in chasing.
And it’d require a resolution that is special to recover from the debacles that are demoralising to manage at least one favorable consequence before the three-match Twenty20 string starting January 26 in Adelaide.
This really is the first bilateral one-day series between both sides on Australian soil, along with the Men in Blue will want to avoid entering the record books in an embarrassing fashion.
The Indians couldn’t have a practice session on Friday because of wet conditions and there is a chance of weather playing spoilsport with the outlook of more showers.
Australia’s only concern is seeing Glenn Maxwell, who went off the field in Canberra owing to a blow to his right knee. But as seen previously in the show, they’ve considerable names to fill in any voids in their playing eleven.
Scott Boland could come in as an extra pace alternative, or even Shaun Marsh, should they wish to supply more batting cover, in case Maxwell does not play at the Sydney Cricket Ground with Nathan Lyon covering the spin angle now.
For India, the issues are more realistic, simply because they do not possess the luxury cushion of a show lead.
The very goal of the present international program is to get together with the World Cup on the horizon, into a limited overs’ set up, especially T20 cricket.
Thus, the ensuing T20I series assumes more significance on this tour, yet the visitors WOn’t want to completely waste the very first leg of the excursion.
Ajinkya Rahane could be a doubtful starter for this particular match, owing to the stitches on his right hand. He did bat in the run-chase at Canberra, however just since the Indian lower-arrangement was in free fall.
Since he’s an important member of the T20 lineup, the team management will need him to regain full fitness ahead of next week’s clashes than risk additional injury in a dead-rubber.
Manish Pandey is expected to be slotted into the middle sequence, maybe even bat at number four should the situation arise, as best cover will be wanted by India in their own lineup for Rahane’s absence.
There is also a case for R Ashwin to return in place of Gurkeerat Mann who has not impressed with either bat or ball in his two outings so far.
Ashwin, who sat out in Melbourne and Canberra, holds the key to the bowling attack in the T20 format. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will wish to give him some match practice ahead of the upcoming series, even if it does not help sort out India’s regular issues viewing team balance.
But if there is one ground that the skipper will get away with fielding two spinners Down Under, then it is the SCG, irrespective of rain forecast for Saturday.
Barinder Sran is the other bowler who was afforded remainder in the prior game.
Both Umesh and Ishant and a majority of the matches in this series have played with, and with high workload a variable, the team management might want to manage atleast one of them some rest.
Wet conditions didn’t enable the Indian team to practice on Friday, and it was a welcome break for the team after constant travel along with playing four ODIs in 10 days across this continent.
Particularly for Dhoni, after he attributed his cheap sending-off as the motive for the 349-chase to fall apart. He’s been appointed captain until the end of the World T20, but with the lead-up to that tournament filled up with T20s against Sri Lanka (at home) and the Asia Cup (T20 format in Bangladesh), India don’t play any more ODIs until after the IPL season.
The last three ODI chain under Dhoni’s direction haven’t gone as per plan. As ODI skipper then, given the T20 program for the next two months, could this be his final match?
And with a swirl of rumours about his retirement, could this be the final ODI for the 2011 World Cup winning Indian captain? That time will tell.