India Dhoni Kohli Ashwin
India have plenty of work to do if they are to make a game of it against South Africa in the ODI seriesReuters

The T20 series proved to be a damp squib for India, with South Africa clinching it 2-0. So, it is onto the five-match ODI series now, with MS Dhoni's men hunting for their first win in this mega series against the Proteas.

While the first T20I was won by a bit of magic from JP Duminy, the second was lost by India alone, due to their pathetic batting performance.

India's batting strengths lend better to the longer format of the limited-overs game, though, where the lack of a power hitter is not found out so often.

With Shikhar Dhawan a much better player in the ODI format, that opening position should also look a lot more solid alongside Rohit Sharma, who was one of the few bright spots in the T20I series.

India will inevitably continue to rely on their top three of Dhawan, Rohit and Virat Kohli, but when needed, the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu/Ajinkya Rahane/Stuart Binny need to play big innings as well.

"We have had a good look in the two games and know what we can expect out of the South Africans," India team director Ravi Shastri said after the third T20I in Kolkata was abandoned due to a wet outfield. "In the one-day competition we understand our game as well.

"We are a far better side in the one-dayers and I expect a very good contest over the next month."

Dhoni is expected to bat up the order in this ODI series, and that should be an interesting watch against the potent bowling lineup of South Africa.

The Proteas will be pretty happy with the way the long tour has gone so far, but they will know India will bounce back. There is no better team to make use of home conditions than India, and with the spinners (read R Ashwin) now having the luxury of bowling ten overs in a match, the batting situation of South Africa could change considerably as well (not counting that genius AB De Villiers, of course).

However, if South Africa play in the same manner as the T20I series, they will give serious competition to India, which, after all, is what we expected going into this huge tour, which has three T20s, five ODIs and that mouthwatering four-match Test series.

ODI series schedule: India vs South Africa: 1st ODI: Date: Sunday, 11 October. Time: 9 am IST, 3.30 am GMT, 11.30 pm ET, 5.30 am SAST. Venue: Green Park in Kanpur.

2nd ODI: Date: Wednesday, 14 October. Time: 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 4 am ET, 10 am SAST. Venue: Holkar Cricket Ground in Indore.

3rd ODI: Date: Sunday, 18 October. Time: 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 4 am ET, 10 am SAST. Venue: SCA Stadium in Rajkot.

4th ODI: Date: Thursday, 22 October. Time: 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 4 am ET, 10 am SAST. Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

5th ODI: Date: Sunday, 25 October. Time: 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 4 am ET, 10 am SAST. Venue: Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

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