Sports

3rd ODI: India look to avoid rare whitewash against red-hot New Zealand

After whitewashing New Zealand in the 5-match T20I series, India lost only their 6th bilateral ODI series in the last 5 years but they still have a lot to play for when they take on the Black Caps in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.

India went down in Hamilton despite setting New Zealand 348 and in the second ODI in Auckland, a Ravindra Jadeja special went in vain after New Zealand rallied to defend 273 on a good pitch.

Without Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, India have had to play two rookie ODI openers against the 2019 World Cup finalists. After a quick start in the 1st ODI, both Shaw and Agarwal were dismissed in quick succession before Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul lifted the Indians to a strong total albeit one they could not defend.

India missed Rohit and Dhawan the most in Auckland where a strong opening stand was crucial. On Tuesday, Shaw and Agarwal will be tested once again by a quality New Zealand bowling attack even without Trent Boult and Matt Henry.

And both openers will have to work harder and make the job a little easier for the middle-order if India want to avoid their first whitewash in a bilateral ODI series of 3 or more matches since 1989.

The last time India faced such a whitewash was 31 years ago in the West Indies when they were blanked 5-0.

In recent years, India have generally been very good in ODI series home and away. After the 2015 World Cup, India lost to Bangladesh in Bangladesh and South Africa at home before a 4-1 drubbing in Australia. However, they then proceeded to beat New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in their own den besides resounding victories at home.

In fact, this is New Zealand’s first ODI series victory over India since 2013-14. Six years ago, India had lost the 5-match series 4-0 but managed to tie one. Before that tour of New Zealand, India had lost a 3-match ODI series in South Africa 2-0 after the final match was washed out.

Since then, India have never gone through a bilateral ODI series without at least one win.

Last year, India had smashed New Zealand 4-1 but without their experienced openers, stare at a 3-0 whitewash. Moreover, New Zealand will be stronger with the return of Kane Williamson who had to miss the first two ODIs.

India, on the other hand, might look to rest Jasprit Bumrah before the 2-Test series and bring back Mohammed Shami. It remains to be seen whether Kedar Jadhav makes way for either Manish Pandey or Shivam Dube. The latter will offer Virat Kohli extra bowling at a venue where India have won both their ODIs.

In 2019, Mohammed Shami had done the star-turn for India with a 3-wicket haul as the visitors took an unassailable 3-0 lead.

India will need some of that magic from Shami on Tuesday in a match where they will play for sheer pride. Not just Shami, the likes of Kohli, Iyer and Rahul will have the onus to deliver a face-saving victory after a thoroughly dominant start to their tour of New Zealand.

Source: indiatoday.in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *