Sydney: The ODI series is decided and the focus is slowly shifting towards the T20 series despite one game left to play.
Virat Kohli. Pic/Getty Images
Even if India manage to avoid a whitewash, the tour of Australia will now be judged on how India perform in the T20 series especially with World T20 around the corner. The Indian top order has been in sublime touch and in Canberra they showed glimpses of what can be expected during the T20s. But the momentum is with the Australians and today's fifth and final ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground is more about India halting the Australian juggernaut.
Still charged up
On match eve on Friday, Kohli felt India were still motivated and there were no mental barriers about playing Australia. "The guys are motivated and they want to win badly. In our heads, we still feel like we are playing the first game. We have that kind of excitement. I can tell you personally that it's not a mental block. It's an opportunity, a challenge, playing against a very good cricket side. If we were mentally bogged down, we wouldn't have been able to compete at all," he said.
To make things more difficult for India, Ajinkya Rahane's hand injury could keep him out. This means the middle order that was so poor in Canberra, will once again be exposed. Manish Pandey is likely to fill the void left by Rahane, but if MS Dhoni decides to bat at No 4 , it could well be a case of three out and all out.
The pressure on the bowling attack continues to grow. Since the World Cup victory over SA in Melbourne last year, the bowlers have not produce a quality performance. Barinder Sran ought to be picked instead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar after resting in Canberra.
Bhuvi's lost his swing
Bhuvneshwar has lost the art of swing and while trying to bowl faster, has bowled short far too often. This means Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma could well be retained to give them another chance of bowling accurately and intelligently. The dry nature of the SCG pitch could force R Ashwin into contention. Despite the pitch being known to favour spin, India's record at the ground is abysmal — only one win in the last five matches. If there is hope for India to avoid a whitewash, it is the weather. The rain gods have not been kind to Sydney this summer with two days of the Australia vs West Indies Test washed out.