India On Course For Second Successive ODI Series TriumphAhmedabad, Dec 4: With a 2-0 lead in hand, India are firmly on course to record a second successive one-day series triumph at home as they take on West Indies in the third ODI of
Ahmedabad, Dec 4: With a 2-0 lead in hand, India are firmly on course to record a second successive one-day series triumph at home as they take on West Indies in the third ODI of the five-match rubber at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera here tomorrow.
Although it has not been without some hiccups, the hosts look all set to hand out another defeat to the visiting side and take a winning 3-0 lead at the ground where they dethroned 2007 champions Australia on March 24 on their way to grabbing cricket's most coveted crown - the World Cup.
India, by all counts, are holding all the trump cards and should clinch the series unless they self-destruct or the Windies punch above their weight.
A win tomorrow would give a consecutive series triumph to India after they mauled England 5-0.
The Virender Sehwag-led hosts have shown exemplary tenaciousness in the face of deep trouble to win the first two games of the series at Cuttack (by a narrow one wicket) and Vishakapatnam (by five wickets).
They struggled to overcome a very modest target of 212 set by the Darren Sammy-led Windies in the first ODI and then failed to deliver the knock-out blow when they had the visitors on the hop at 170 for 9 in the second match.
On the first occasion, Virender Sehwag and company had to be rescued by the last wicket pair of Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav who stitched a vital stand of 12 runs to pilot them across the finish line.
In the second game too India allowed Ravi Rampaul to smash a world record score for a no. 10 batsman, 86 not out in 66 balls with six sixes and as many fours, to help his team amass a challenging 269 after they were 170 for 9 through a fighting, unfinished last wicket stand of 99 with Kemar Roach who made 24 not out.
It needed a determined and tenacious stand of 163 runs between young guns Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to guide India to a victory after they were in difficulties at 84 for 3.
What must be pleasing to the home team's management is that the victories had been achieved without significant contributions from the Big Two in the batting line-up— stand-in captain and opener Sehwag and no.3 Gautam Gambhir.
With Parthiv Patel too flopping badly at the top, India had to bank on Sharma's consistency and Kohli's return to form to shore up the middle and dig them out of difficulties in game two.
Sharma has had a very good run since his return to the team after the unfortunate first-ball injury he sustained in the ODI series in England that ruled him out of the return series.
The talented Mumbai batsman was in very good touch in the Caribbean and seems to have taken a liking to the Windies bowling attack.
Kohli, who was part of the Dhoni-led team that lifted the coveted World Cup in Mumbai on April 2, has also scored runs aplenty in ODIs this year.
The Delhi youngster has become the second-highest batsman after England's Jonathan Trott with a tally of 1258 runs from 31 games at just over 46 with four centuries to boot, three of them in his last eight appearances.
In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar at the top and regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the end of the innings, as well as Yuvraj Singh, the batting has relied a lot on these two youngsters and it is time for the likes of Sehwag and Gambhir fire.