NEW ZEALAND v INDIA
Eden Park, 2pm today
Here's a statistic to warm Indian hearts and send a shiver down New Zealand spines.
In the four ODIs over the past two weeks, India's batsmen have scored 1054 runs at an average of 7.52 an over.
New Zealand haven't exactly been slowcoaches at the crease. They have been travelling at 6.38 runs an over - pretty impressive, but it pales in comparison with their high-flying rivals.
Today at Eden Park, New Zealand's bowlers have a final opportunity to self-administer a jab of confidence before the three-test series which starts in Hamilton next week.
But they will need to produce their best bowling performance by a mile in a so-far desperately disappointing series if they are to avoid the next worst thing to a clean sweep - the rain-ruined second contest in Wellington being the only blip on India's imperious progress.
First the good news out of the despair at Hamilton, when, having put up a solid 270 for five, New Zealand were blown away by Hurricane Sehwag.
The batting, if still to produce a really cohesive performance with all contributing, has generally been able to produce decent scores, albeit with mid-order glitches.
Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram and Grant Elliott have totalled 205 from a collective 12 innings. Not good enough.
Peter McGlashan provided a bright spark late on in Hamilton with his breezy, inventive 56 not out.
Without Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder at the start of the innings, New Zealand would have been in a sorrier state. Still, 334 and 270 in their last two innings would win more games than not, under normal circumstances, which these are not.
India's bowling has been a mixed bag and New Zealand found at Christchurch, when things got interesting towards the end, that they are not immune from a dose of the twitches.
New Zealand's problem has been an inability to induce anything remotely like panic in the Indian ranks often enough. So it's been plain sailing for the visitors, and as Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh have amply demonstrated, they're a tough mob to stop.
The hosts must either give India's batsmen something different today, or do what they have but far better.
They haven't suddenly become a poor ODI team overnight. Their bowling at Perth and Melbourne, only a month ago, was highly impressive.
Certainly Sehwag and co are seeing the ball like a pumpkin. New Zealand's bowlers have not been on the spot anywhere near often enough.
They have given India's batsmen width and their lengths have been wrong too often. Given those parameters it's no surprise that blitzkriegs have ensued.
One former international watching the destruction in Hamilton this week asked: "Can anyone tell me why these blokes can't bowl two consecutive balls in the same place?" It's a fair question and one which the team hierarchy probably wondered too.
Captain Daniel Vettori yesterday talked of the credibility issue. It is time the fifth-ranked team - down one spot on this week's ICC rankings - pushed the third-ranked Indians far harder.
"We want to win a game and give our one-day side the credibility it deserves because we've played well for a while now, though in this series we haven't shown that," he said.
"We've got to show our public and fans that we're better than the side that's turned out in the last little while."
India might make a few changes today. They can afford to. There's no need to bring Tendulkar back as he gets over a stomach strain with the tests around the corner, but allrounder Irfan Pathan may get a run. So too left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
NEW ZEALAND v INDIA:
New Zealand (from):
Dan Vettori (c)
MS Dhoni (c)
NEW ZEALAND v INDIA