Crunch time

India to take on West Indies in the series-decider today

The last time Green Park hosted an international affair was a Test match between India and Sri Lanka in November 2009, which the hosts comfortably won.

Kanpur: Unfavourable bowling conditions had pegged them back in the last match but India will look to assert their supremacy and clinch the series against the West Indies when the two teams clash in the decisive third One-day today. India have been a dominant force in this contest since West Indies’ arrival to the country but the hosts suffered a surprise two-wicket defeat in Visakhapatnam, failing to defend a competitive total under difficult conditions.

Crunch time

That victory must have boosted confidence of the West Indies who would now aim to leave the country by pocketing at least the ODI series, following their debacle in the Tests.They, for the first time on this tour, will approach a match with self belief and confidence. For India, it is last international match at home before they embark on a challenging tour against South Africa and they would like to finish this series on a high.

The Indian batting line-up sports a solid look. Barring a few individuals, the batting department is in great form in the recent past.The top three — Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni — have been the real force behind India’s batting.

With scores of 86 and 99 in the two matches played so far, Kohli, in particular, has been in scintillating form. But it is the form of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the middle order which will be a cause of concern for Dhoni ahead of the series decider.

Both Dhawan and Yuvraj have some work to do as they have been throwing their wickets away after getting starts. But Dhoni, who struck a quick-fire 51 in the last to propel India to 288, backed Yuvraj to strike form in the upcoming matches, terming the left-hander as vital cog in India’s middle-order.

“We want Yuvi to do well. He is someone who can bat well at No.4 and can dominate the opposition. Last few games, he has struggled a bit. At times it happens when you’re under pressure the 15-20 first deliveries become crucial,” Dhoni had said after the second ODI.

Ravindra Jadeja, who has been doing a decent job with his slow left-armers, too would be desperate to return among runs. Barring the last match where dew played a major factor, the Indian bowlers have been pretty consistent in the series so far.

Pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma leaked runs in Visakhapatnam. Dew did not help their cause as they struggled to grip the ball and handed out loose deliveries to the West Indies batsmen.The trio would be hoping to make up in better conditions.

The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja, as usual, has been miser with the ball and the two bowlers would like to carry on their good show to help India clinch the series.Dhoni would also be hoping for an improved showing from fielders as they dropped as many as four catches in the last match.Windies, did just enough to secure the win in the second match.

Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy scored crucial half-centuries in their maiden win on the tour.Even though bowling still remains a concern for West Indies, the visiting bowling attack played a key role in keeping the series alive with an improved showing towards the end of the last match to restrict India to 288, who at one stage were on 194 for 3 in the 36th over, with Kohli on course for an 18th ODI century.

Ravi Rampaul, Jason Holder and Sunil Narine pulled the visitors back. Narine bowled his last five overs in the last match for just eight runs, bowling two maidens while Rampaul took the wickets.

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