India Kohli Sran Gurkeerat Rohit Pandey
India have a lot of improvements to make going into the 4th ODI against AustraliaReuters

With the series gone, India will want to salvage the proverbial pride when they run into Australia again for the 4th ODI match in Canberra on Wednesday.

The first three matches of this ODI series went the same way, with Australia producing record chases in each of the three games to end India's chances of picking up an unlikely series win. Australia overhauled India's 309 in Perth, 308 in Brisbane and 295 in Melbourne to set the new records for chases in the respective grounds.

Such has been the dominance of the Australia team with the bat, that no total has looked safe. Of course, there are two sides to that coin, and as good as Australia have been with the willow, India have been just as bad with the ball, if not worse. Even if the wickets have been flat, the bowlers should have really made a better fist of defending the totals, particularly in the last two matches.

Dhoni was quick to come to his bowlers' defence after losing the series at the MCG on Sunday, insisting the unit was inexperienced, but when you have Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, albeit not for the third one-day international, in your lineup, that is a statement that really does not hold much credence.

These bowlers have not stepped up and done their jobs, understandably in flat-as-a-pancake wickets, while the fielders have not backed them up as much as they could have either. India's fielding has improved leaps and bounds over the last decade, but there were a fair few run out opportunities that went begging in the first three matches, while a couple of catches was grassed as well.

Australia are such a strong side at home that if you are even five percent off your game, they will take advantage, and so they have done, to great effect. Glenn Maxwell said the target for Australia now is a 5-0 series whitewash, which only shows how seriously and professionally they are taking this series.

India have been serious and professional as well, but in those key moments, when they have needed someone to step up – be that in the final overs with the bat, where someone could have struck a 25-run over, or with the ball, when a crucial couple of wickets could have swung the game – none of those hands have been raised.

MS Dhoni will hope the fourth ODI sees a few of those hands go up.

4th ODI schedule: India vs Australia.

Date: Wednesday, 20 January.

Time: 2.20 pm local time (8.50 am IST, 3.20 am GMT, 10.20 pm ET).

Venue: Manuka Oval in Canberra.

TV listings: Australia: Channel 9. India: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD3, Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 3. UK: Sky Sports 3. USA: Willow TV. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Cricket. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport.

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