India looking for green spark
By N Jagannath Das | ENS | Published: 27th November 2013 01:30 AM |
Outplayed in the first three matches (two Tests and the Kochi ODI), the West Indies bounced back with a two-wicket win in the dew-hit Visakhapatnam match to keep the series alive.
Their confidence is back and the third and final ODI on Wednesday is set for a close finish at the Green Park Stadium. It is a day match, starting at 9am. It could come as a big relief to the team fielding second, considering the dew which makes bowling and fielding difficult in the second half.
India skipper MS Dhoni, who felt it was unfair on the home team in the second game, said the biggest positive and pleasant change was playing a day match. “We do not need to worry about the dew for once,” he had said after the defeat. He also felt the bowlers won’t have to worry about drying the ball after every delivery.
The teams, however, will face a dilemma whether to bat first or bowl. The morning freshness will help fast bowlers but thereafter, conditions might ease out.
The focus will be on the Gen Next of Indian batting, which has been on a roll. Virat Kohli batted majestically at Visakhapatnam. He missed his third successive ton at the City of Destiny by one run. For once, Rohit Sharma got out for a low score in that game, while Shikhar Dhawan looked in good touch before being out for 35. But it is the form of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina that could be a worrying factor. Both left-handers have not been among the runs.
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Dhoni admitted Yuvraj has struggled a bit. The left-hander’s last big score was 77 in the T20 match against Australia. But after that, his scores have been 7, 0, 0, 12, 16 and 28. Dhoni felt Yuvraj is the sort of a player who can win matches, but he needs that rhythm going.
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Dhoni himself continues to flourish in the end overs. That the West Indies restricted India below 300 in the second game was partly because of Sunil Narine, who conceded only eight runs in his last five overs. Narine pegged away at a tight line and length to stop the flow of runs in the slog overs. He can play a key role here too.
Apart from Narine and pace bowler Ravi Rampaul, who took four wickets, the batting of Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Test skipper Darren Sammy could please the West Indies team. If Powell and Bravo were involved in a busy stand at the start, Simmons and Sammy provided the thrust late in the innings in the steep chase. Sammy hit hard and long to dismantle the Indian attack.
The Indian pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma could come under some sort of test. To be honest, the wet ball at Visakhapatnam did not help their cause. It is to be seen how they acquaint themselves to different and better conditions. Off-spinner R Ashwin bowled exceptionally well even when the conditions were not favourable. His variations posed problems for the batsmen.
Dhoni would be keen to finish the series on a winning note before the tough South Africa series. Will the rejuvenated Dwayne Bravo-led side spoil Dhoni’s party?
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