BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AFP) – India will seek their first whitewash in a five-match one-day series away from home when they take on a ragged Zimbabwe side in the fifth one-day international at Queens Sports Club on Saturday.
Although India have recorded three 5-0 series wins at home in the past five years -- whitewashing England twice and New Zealand once -- they are yet to achieve the feat on foreign soil.
Having won the first four matches against Zimbabwe comprehensively, that statistic looks destined to fall unless the home side can show significant improvement in the final fixture.
Much of the talk prior to the series was of an experimental Indian side, yet the tourists showed that winning was their first priority by employing the same XI until the series was in the bag.
"We've not left any loose ends, we've just tried to go out there and play as professionally as we can," wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik said.
"It's important that we look at improving ourselves and that's something that we've really concentrated on."
Batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and seamer Mohit Sharma were handed one-day debuts for the fourth match of the series, and the latter made an immediate impact as he took 2 for 26 to set up a nine-wicket victory and earn the man of the match award.
Uncapped all-rounder Parvez Rasool and batsman Ajinkya Rahane are the two Indian players yet to see action in the series so far, and they could be brought in for Saturday's encounter.
Zimbabwe have failed to present a meaningful challenge in any of the games so far, largely because their batsmen have been unable to post a competitive total.
The hosts were bowled out for just 144 in the fourth one-day international, with Elton Chigumbura saving them from complete embarrassment with an unbeaten 50.
"We are all trying to improve every game, but it's unfortunate this tour we haven't done so," Chigumbura said.
"But if you look at our past history playing at home we have done well. It's just one of those tours where things are not coming together on the batting side."
Timycen Maruma is the only back-up batsman in the Zimbabwean squad and so he could be brought in on Saturday, while fast bowler Kyle Jarvis is likely to return after being left out for the last two games.