Ind v Eng: India aim to finish ODI series on a high


Sunday's fifth and final ODI between India and England may be a dead rubber, but the home team would like to finish on a high in the first-ever international game at Dharamsala.

India are in no mood to drop their guard despite holding an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

A 4-1 victory might not heal the scars of the humiliating Test series loss against England but it would be a morale-booster for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men ahead of their next Test assignment against Michael Clarke's Australia.

With the series already decided, the match is of academic interest but for the team management and the national selectors, there are a few areas that they would like to check out.

Cheteshwar Pujara has been eagerly waiting for his ODI debut and one would expect that that the talented Saurashtra batsman would finally get a chance considering that he has not been released for the high-profile Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai starting on Saturday.

India had some concerns about skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's fitness but he has recovered from the knock he received on the right thumb at Mohali.

There couldn't have been a perfect setting for the series finale as Dharamsala can be easily compared with Newlands in Cape Town or the John Davies Oval in Queenstown as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.

With Rohit Sharma set to open the innings, Ajinkya Rahane will again miss out after being made to warm the bench in the Mohali match.

Sharma had grabbed the opportunity with both hands with an excellent knock and will be hoping to again excel in his new role as opener.

At the pre-match media interaction, Suresh Raina was not forthcoming about the composition of the final XI, saying that the team had not had a meeting and the management had not decided.

He said that India were determined to win the last game and clinch the series with a comprehensive 4-1 margin rather than make it seem more closely-fought at 3-2.

On a personal level, he said that he would like to carry on his good run with the bat as he was eager to regain his place in the Test side for the upcoming series against Australia after being cold-shouldered for the previous series against England.

England team on the other hand have nothing to lose and will come out all guns blazing as a 2-3 ODI series defeat would look much better than a 1-4 hammering.

England's main concern, however, has been their pacers with Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan unable to figure out the right length to bowl in Indian conditions. Dernbach, especially has been consistently leaking runs.

The only bowler who has made some kind of impact is the lanky Steven Finn. He has extracted steep bounce and bowled in right areas to trouble the Indian batsmen consistently.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara Amit Mishra and Ashok Dinda.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Samit Patel, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Stuart Meaker.