India look to extend domination

India look to extend domination

 Having already clinched the series with an unassailable 3-0 lead, a dominant India may look to test their bench stength when they take on minnows Zimbabwe in the fourth one-dayer here on Thursday.

The convincing seven-wicket win in the third ODI gave India the series title, reducing the remaining two ODIs to academic interest and that could prompt the team management to experiment with the combination. The Indians may look to rest some of the key players and give an opportunity to Cheteshwar Pujara, Parveez Rasool, Mohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as they have not played a single match in the series.

India might look to bring in Rahane as one of the openers and give Pujara a chance to lend support to the middle order, while Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Rasool may get a look-in in place of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja or leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

However, it will be difficult for pacer Mohit to make his way to a team which already has youngsters Jaydev Unadkat, Shami Ahmed doing reasonably well. Whether skipper Virat Kohli hands Mohit his ODI debut by resting R Vinay Kumar, who has been a bit disappointing, remains to be seen.

Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan have been the run-getters in the series, while Ambati Rayudu did well to score 101 runs in the three ODIs that he has played.

However, the series has not gone well for Rohit Sharma who has managed only 35 runs in the three matches so far and he will look to get his touch back in the remaining ODIs, if he is persisted with. In the bowling department, Mishra has been the most successful bowler in the series, scalping nine wickets, while young pacers Jaydev and Shami too have contributed well to compliment India’s batting strength.

For Zimbabwe, the three losses in as many matches at home will be difficult to stomach but skipper Brendan Taylor has to motivate his boys to play out of their skin and restore some pride in the remaining matches. Batting has been the problem for the hosts in all three games so far. The odds were always against Zimbabwe as they were taking on the world champions and Taylor felt it was the “mental toughness” which made all the difference in the end.

For Zimbabwe, Sikandar Raza, E Chigumbura and V Sibanda have been among runs but they will have to do more if their team has to pose any threat to the visitors.
Among bowlers, BV Vitori and P Utseya have taken three wickets each and Zimbabwe would have to add more teeth to their bowling if they have to test the world number one ODI side in the remaining two ODIs.

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