New Delhi: When the English side touched down the Indian shores in the early October, they had a belief of rewriting the history books of beating India in their own backyard. But after trailing 0-3 in the five-match series, that belief has been replaced by a fear of getting whitewashed by the young Indian guns.
Barring leaking runs at death in the third ODI at Mohali, there is hardly a point in the series where India have put a foot wrong so far. And MS Dhoni's acknowledgement that "the team still needs to work on in some key areas" at the end of a five-wicket win on Thursday illustrates the fact that there will be a better showing by India in the fourth ODI at the Wankhede Stadium, which is fresh to host its first match after Dhoni and his men lifted the glittering World Cup trophy here on April 2.
But it has also increased the worries for the visiting Poms, who once again failed to find the right recipe to beat India in their own backyard. Though England are missing the services of the in-form Stuart Broad (left out due to an injury) and James Anderson (given rest), a much-better show was still expected from their bowling unit, comprising young and exciting pacer Steven Finn, powerful Tim Bresnan and a versatile Jade Dernbach.
Although Finn has continued to impress with the pace and bounce he has generated in the three ODIs played so far, the dip in form of both Bresnan and Dernbach would have surely increased a wrinkle or two on the forehead of England's head coach Andy Flower.
Will they earn any respect from the marauding Indian batsmen in the remaining matches? The answer is obvious to one and all – the England bowlers should get ready for more thrashing. All the batsmen, except Suresh Raina, have been among the runs so far in the series. But a slight promotion in the batting order, considering the series is already won, could well give a chance to the 24-year-old left-hander to pace his innings instead of trying to change the colour of the leather from ball one.
The injury to Umesh Yadav has given the team management an opportunity to try the much-touted pace sensation Varun Aaron. It's hard to see any other change in the line-up as India will be reluctant to tinker with the winning combination.
For England, Craig Kieswetter may get the axe due to his sloppy glovework in the last game in Mohali. Jonny Bairstow may don the wicketkeeping gloves in place of the South African-born keeper. The vacant place should, in all probability, be filled by Ian Bell, who despite having shown the form in the series in England has been sitting on the sidelines in the first three ODIs.
Winning the toss will be a real bonus for England as the visitors will be well aware of the nature of the slow, red-soiled Wankhede track, which takes turn once it gets a little more ragged.
India: Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Varun Aaron.
England: Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn.