India look to experiment, eye whitewash in third ODI vs Zimbabwe

  • PTI, Harare
  • Updated: Jun 15, 2016 11:40 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave enough hints on changes in the playing eleven after two easy wins against the hosts. (AFP)

With the series already sealed, India will look to hand Zimbabwe a third successive whitewash while testing more youngsters when they take on the lacklustre hosts in the third and final One-day International in Harare on Wednesday.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave enough hints on changes in the playing eleven after two easy wins against the hosts, who have proved no match even for a second-string Indian team.

The series so far has been a lopsided affair and fans of either side will be hoping for a closer contest at the Harare Sports Club to help generate some interest in the short rubber, to be followed by three T20 Internationals at the same venue.

A win on Wednesday will give India a third successive series clean-sweep after the triumphs in 2013 and 2015.

Going by the words of skipper Dhoni, more changes are likely in the Indian batting order as only the top three batsmen have gotten substantial time in the middle.

Opener Lokesh Rahul, who scored a memorable ton on his ODI debut, may be rested alongside number three Ambati Rayudu. The two have by far faced the most number of balls, 165 and 164 respectively.

If they are benched, uncapped Faiz Fazal can open with Karun Nair, who made 39 off 68 balls in the run chase on Monday after a failure in the first match.

Taking Rayudu’s place could be another uncapped batsman Mandeep Singh, who was a surprise pick in the 16-man squad alongside Fazal.

Barring the top three, the rest of the batsmen have not got an outing, so any other change in that department looks unlikely.

In the bowling department, Dhoni can rest either Barinder Sran, Dhawal Kulkarni or Jasprit Bumrah as all three performed their roles well in the earlier games.

If any of them is left out, the recalled Jaydev Unadkat can get a game and so could all-rounder Rishi Dhawan, who made his India debut during the ODI series in Australia in January.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who made the cut after a fruitful IPL, has impressed in the two chances he has got and that included a three-wicket haul on Monday.

If off-spinner Jayant Yadav gets to make his debut, either Chahal or Axar Patel will be benched.

Dhoni has had no doubts about putting Zimbabwe in after winning two tosses in a row amid prevailing cold conditions in Harare. It will be interesting to see what he opts for at the toss on Wednesday, provided he calls correctly a third time.

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