Rain threat looms over Sydney ODI, Ajinkya Rahane remains in contention
Ravichandran Ashwin may get a game because Sydney is known to be one of the most spin-friendly grounds in Australia
Australia have a 4-0 lead over India in the ODI series already, but their hopes of whitewashing the visitors are faced with a threat – rain threatens to wash out the 5th ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground entirely. It has rained on Wednesday and Thursday in Sydney, and both teams have had no practice sessions as a result.
Australia are currently on an 18-match winning streak at home, a world record. India are looking for their first win of the series.
Incidentally, India’s ODI encounter with Australia last year at the same ground had been washed out by rain as well. On Friday, there was heavy rain and more is forecast on match day tomorrow. Due to wet ground conditions, India had to cancel their practice session.
"Indian Cricket Team's practice session at the SCG on Friday, 22nd January 2016 stands canceled due to wet ground conditions," the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a media advisory on Friday.
According to a report in "Sydney Morning Herald" newspaper on Friday, severe thunderstorm warning has been issued in Sydney. "A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Sydney, with heavy rain and damaging winds expected," the report said.
"There is a chance it could be severe. Heavy rainfall is the main thing we will see and also possibly damaging wind gusts," meteorologist Rob Taggart from the Bureau of Meteorology, was quoted as saying in the report.
Rahane, Maxwell in doubt
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who injured his hand during the 4th ODI, and came out to bat with four stitches, is recovering, and a call on his availability will be taken on the ground tomorrow.
Rahane had to come out to bat at No.7 in the last match with four stitches on the webbing of his right hand, but could not provide a fairy tale finish to the match.
According to the Indian team management, Rahane is recovering and they will take a call on him tomorrow at the ground. "He (Rahane) had a few stitches and he had taken local anesthesia so we had to wait and push him down the order so he gets some kind of feeling back in his hand, then only he could bat," Indian captain MS Dhoni had said after the 4th ODI.
Manish Pandey stands a chance of making the team if Rahane does not recover in time. Among other changes the team will consider is playing Ravichandran Ashwin, especially because Sydney is one of the most spin-friendly grounds in Australia. Axar Patel may also get his first game of the series.
Glenn Maxwell remains a doubt for Australia because of a knee injury and a sore left hamstring, and will probably not be risked for the inconsequential tie. India and Australia meet for a series of 3 T20 matches after the final ODI.