The Manuka Oval is a quiet place but so is all of Canberra. Here in the middle of Australia's leafy national capital, India will look for relief from a week of noisy despair. The VB Series is lost, but the two dead rubbers, beginning with the fourth One-Day International here on Wednesday, give India the opportunity to play with a little freedom. It is a chance for the team and their beleaguered bowlers to begin afresh. It is also a chance to experiment — although that was perhaps the point of the series, which had little context in the larger scheme of things — without fretting over the result.

India's decision to drop Ravichandran Ashwin for Rishi Dhawan in Melbourne would not have been an easy one to make. It was, in M.S. Dhoni's opinion, the only way he could field another seam bowler without weakening the batting. The Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who was a member of the ground-staff here seven years ago and knows the pitch as well as anyone else, said on Monday, that it was going to be “a great wicket for one-day cricket.”

It will thus be interesting to note if Ashwin comes back in, on a surface that is expected to be flat without taking much turn.

Ashwin bowled non-stop for nearly two hours in the nets on Tuesday, along with Axar Patel. The Gujarat all-rounder played three games in the triangular series here last year, without making much of an impression, positive or negative. He was then part of India's squad during the World Cup but did not play a single game. It would be pointless to have brought him this far this time only to carry the drinks.

Meanwhile, Brainder Sran did not bowl until near the end of India's training session. The left-armer went for 63 runs from his eight overs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and could well sit this one out in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav need to bowl better than they have in the previous two matches. India has no ready replacements for bowlers of their experience.

Australia, for their part, will welcome David Warner, back from the birth of his second child, into the team again. It will give the home side a selection headache, for Shaun Marsh has scored half centuries in his two previous innings. Glenn Maxwell, Lyon and Warner have all spoken of winning the series 5-0 and not giving an inch. India cannot expect an easy outing.


Australia: Steve Smith (captain), Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, George Bailey, John Hastings, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Josh Hazlewood, Joel Paris, Scott Boland, Shaun Marsh, Kane Richardson.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Gurkeerat Mann, Rishi Dhawan, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Brainder Sran.