India are missing the balance that an all-rounder lends to the team ahead of the third and deciding one-day international against hosts Australia in Melbourne on Friday, feels opener Shikhar Dhawan.

India has been forced to experiment a bit with their final XI after first choice all-rounder Hardik Pandya had to return home after being suspended for his remarks on a television show.

“Obviously, if Hardik [Pandya] was around or Kedar [Jadhav] plays, there is an extra edge. Whether is Tests or ODIs, the role of an all-rounder is important to give an extra balance to the side,” said Dhawan as India looks to clinch the one-day series following their historic Test series win Down Under.

India lost the opening match of the one-day series as they tried to figure out the correct combination but fought back in the second thanks to a century from skipper Virat Kohli and unbeaten knock from MS Dhoni.

“It was good to see [MS] Dhoni bhai get his touch back. It was a complete performance from the team in the last game. He brings a lot of confidence and calmness. The batsmen have been performing well in the past few years and hope to continue to do that in the next few as well,” he added.

Dhawan, who failed to make an impact in the first two matches, was seen doing tennis ball drills and the opener said that it was a way to match up against the short ball, something that troubled him early in his career. “It is good to keep the reflexes and muscle memory quick as Australians have fast bowlers. It is a repetitive drill. Anywhere we play, we get that. It is an opportunity for me to score runs as well.”

The 33-year-old said the break during the Tests helped him gear up for the limited-overs season, which culminates with the World Cup in the summer. “I had five-six weeks off and was training hard. It was a good break for me to be fresh and strong ahead of the World Cup. Raring to go. My rhythm is back and I can feel it. It is important to take a break. Normally, in the Indian team we don’t take take too many breaks. It’s good, with the New Zealand series coming up.”

When asked about the opponents, Dhawan insisted that the Australians were a formidable outfit but felt the suspension of players likes Steve Smith and David Warner’s have left a huge void.

“David Warner and Steve Smith’s presence is missing in the side. They are legends. But they are a good all-round side otherwise as well with Finch and the rest.

“In the first ten overs, Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and [Mohammed] Shami are experienced and that’s why we have been dominating. We respect that [Aaron] Finch is a great player but the boys must have seen his weakness and are implementing plans rightly. We are not giving him any singles or boundaries and that can be the key in limited-overs. Then, the batsman is under pressure and the bowlers start feeling confident.”