India seek improvement to avoid Australia whitewash


Australia are looking to go 4-0 and complete a whitewash of India in the bilateral ODI series which continues in Canberra on Wednesday.

The hosts have pulled off five, seven and three-wicket wins in the first three games of the series in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne respectively, as the Australians have reined in whatever the Indians have managed to set.

The 3-0 series lead is made all the more impressive by the fact that India has set targets of 309, 308 and 295 in the first three matches.

Ironically, it was the 295 in Melbourne on Sunday that India looked most likely to defend, as Australia's middle order finally got a chance to prove its worth following a dominant summer from the top-order.

Glenn Maxwell came up with the good as he notched 96 to put the hosts on the way to a series win.

But in spite of the three defeats, the Indians have had plenty to be positive about - in particular the performances of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who between them have knocked 568 runs this series.

While Sharma and Kohli have racked up the runs, they have been betrayed by a shallow middle-order and a fielding outfit which has let too many easy runs through.

MS Dhoni has had his captaincy questioned after the series loss but he believes simple errors are costing his team matches which will not change simply by replacing him as skipper.

"It's not about the leader. I'm there [now], somebody else will come later. What is more important is to see the areas we are lacking in, the departments which have to improve when it comes to shorter formats," he said after the loss in Melbourne.

"I felt on and off the bowling was decent.

"We did let ourselves down with our fielding. The best fielders in our group actually left quite a few deliveries.

"You accumulate those 15 runs or maybe more, then the turnaround could have happened."

Dhoni's counterpart Steven Smith has relatively few concerns with John Hastings and James Faulkner topping the wickets taken for the series with five each, while Smith and George Bailey are keeping pace with Sharma and Kohli in the running stakes.