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PHOTOS: Team India prepares for clean sweep at Kotla

Last updated on: March 21, 2013 18:05 IST

PHOTOS: Team India prepares for clean sweep at Kotla

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India will be going into the fourth and final Test against Australia in Delhi on Friday with an eye on history. Never in their cricketing history have they whitewashed a team 4-0 in Test matches, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni has the golden opportunity to add another memorable chapter to his glorious career.

India have had a few clean sweeps, but all of them in three-Test series or less. Interestingly, their last whitewash in Test came against Australia in 2010, when they won 2-0.

Australia are touring with an inexperienced young team, which failed to come to grips with the spinners on turning tracks. As a result, it's been a mediocre showing in all the three previous Tests.

Photographs: Harish Kotian

Image: Harbhajan Singh jokes with captain Mahendra Singh and other players

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The mood in Indian camp is quite upbeat

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The mood in the Indian camp is quite upbeat. The squad had a strenuous work-out in the nets on Thursday. 

The players chose to miss the nets session on Wednesday, while the visiting Australian team trained hard, trying to gauge the reasons for their abject showing in the first three Tests.

The pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium is again expected to help the spinners and the ball could keep low, making batting more difficult as the match goes on.



Image: India coach Duncan Fletcher speaks to his team

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India will most likely retain the same combination

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Interestingly, in the last Test played at the venue in November 2011, India beat the West Indies by five wickets. It was the spinners who dominated. 

Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin picked six-wicket hauls in the first and second innings respectively and India won despite conceding a 95-run first innings lead.

India will most likely retain the same bowling combination of the Mohali Test, means veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will miss out again.



Image: Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar in the nets

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It's unlikely that Raina will get a game

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Ashwin is India's top wicket-taker in the series with 22, while Ravindra Jadeja, who has added a lot of balance to the team with his left-arm spin, has 17 wickets.

The team management has a tough call to make for the second opener's slot. Following Shikhar Dhawan's withdrawal because of injury, India are looking at a few options to open the innings with Murali Vijay. Surprisingly, the selectors did not name any opener to replace Dhawan following Gautam Gambhir's unavailability due to jaundice.

Suresh Raina has come into the squad, but it is highly unlikely that he will get a game. Which means, in all probability, Ajinkya Rahane will make his long-awaited his Test debut -- after nearly 15 months.



Image: Suresh Raina with Ashok Dinda

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Changes may happen if India decides to experiment

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There is also another theory doing the rounds that Cheteshwar Pujara may open the innings, with Rahane batting at No. 3.

Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda could also get a look in if India decides to experiment following the unassailable 3-0 lead they have.

Sachin Tendulkar, who has failed to make an impact with the bat in the series with 159 runs in the three matches, had a gruelling batting session in the nets. He was then seeing having a long chat with his Mumbai team mate Rahane, who is most likely to make his debut.



Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Ajinkya Rahane

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