|India look to avoid embarrassment|
CANBERRA, Jan 19: The series already out of their grasp, India will be desperate to salvage some pride by avoiding a whitewash but their spiritless bowlers need to put up a far more inspired show to stop the Australians in the fourth and penultimate cricket ODI here tomorrow.
Pride will be on the line for India in the remaining two games of the five-match series and it would require a massive improvement in the bowling performance for the visitors to clinch an elusive victory in the so far disappointing trip.
Indiaís batsmen have gone about their job efficiently, posting big totals on the board but the bowlers have been ordinary, allowing the hosts to chase down those tall scores in each of the first three matches in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne to concede a 3-0 lead.
It will be the first time that India will take on Australia at the Manuka Oval. The Men in Blue have played here only once before, losing to Sri Lanka in the 2007-08 CB Series.
The current team bears a completely different look from that time, when the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were still part of the playing eleven. As such skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma are the only ones to have played a game at this ground.
Two names from that side, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, will be back in the T20 set-up by the end of this week. While it will be in preparation for the fast-approaching World T20 back at home, the prevalent atmosphere in the ODI squad is one of the transformation. Back in 2007-08, Rohit and Ishant were visiting Australia for the first time, and both were expected to hold the keys to the future.
Eight years later, they have grown into their roles further. At the same time, youngsters Manish Pandey, Gurkeerat Mann and Rishi Dhawan have taken their first steps in international cricket.
The focus will be on this trio when Dhoni names his playing eleven, and indeed when he leads the side onto the field.
In the first two matches of this series, India fielded their first-choice eleven. When that didnít work out as planned, they threw everything they had at the MCG in terms of team selection, thus bringing in the two debutants.
It was a bit premature to drop Pandey when he had batted only once in two matches, that too in the death overs. But the move was in the teamís best interests. It remains to be seen what the team managementís approach will be for this fourth ODI.
Shikhar Dhawan scored a first half-century in this series at Melbourne, his second in eight ODIís, and in doing so perhaps assured himself of playing in the remaining two matches as well.
Australia: Steve Smith (c), Aaron Finch, David Warner, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, John Hastings, Scott Boland, Kane Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh.
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Gurkeerat Mann, Rishi Dhawan, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Barinder Sran.
Match starts at: 8.50 am. Ė PTI