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India may test bench, eye third whitewash of Zimbabwe

Harare, June 14: Having already pocketed the series, India are expected to test their bench strength as they aim for a third consecutive whitewash of an uninspiring Zimbabwe when they play the third and fil One-Day Intertiol (ODI) here on Wednesday.

The first two matches turned out to be one-way traffic even for the second string Indian side, who will expect at least some resistance from the hosts in the third ODI. This will be followed by three Twenty20 Intertiols.

On Monday, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hinted at making some changes in the playing eleven after the team clinched the series 2-0 on the back of two easy wins at the Harare Sports Club.

Going into Wednesday’s fil tie, India are expected to tinker with the opening combition of Lokesh Rahul and Karun ir, with the former hammering a century on debut in the first ODI.

Uncapped Faiz Fazal and Mandeep Singh are expected to get their India caps, replacing Rahul and Ambati Rayudu, who have got substantial time in the middle.

Should these team changes be made, Fazal is expected to open with ir while Mandeep could be the choice for the No.3 slot.

In the bowling department, it could be a toss among the medium pace trio of Barinder Sran, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jasprit Bumrah with Jaydev Udkat and bowling all-rounder Rishi Dhawan waiting for a chance.

Off-spinner Jayant Yadav could also bag his first India cap if leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal or left-armer Axar Patel is left out.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe will be hoping from a better show from their batsmen to give the bowlers a decent score to defend.

Vusi Sibanda’s half-century in the second match gave the hosts something to cheer about, but the collective failure of the other batsmen has only helped India’s cause.

On the bowling front, skipper Graeme Cremer will be hoping for a more consistent effort from the new-ball bowlers who have so far been easily milked by the visiting batsmen. IANS

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Ankur Kalita