Having recorded an improbable victory after defending the lowest-ever score in the history of the game, a confident Indian team would look to go for the kill by completing a 3-0 rout when it meets an out-of-sync Bangladesh in the final one-dayer here on Thursday.
Dismissing Bangladesh for 58, what Stuart Binny’s unbelievable figures of 6/4 did was to ensure that home team’s confidence hits nadir and Suresh Raina’s boys will now go for the jugular in the final match of the series to end on a high. Raina will be happy that while his openers set up a well-deserved win in the first ODI, his seamers did a splendid job in a low-scoring second match Tuesday. If his middle-order batsmen can get some runs under their belt in Thursday’s match, the team will feel they have ticked all the boxes during this hurriedly sandwiched series before the England tour.
For India, the only cause of concern will be the performance of their middle-order batsmen Ambati Rayudu and Cheteshwar Pujara. While Rayudu was unbeaten during the first match, Pujara has been dismissed cheaply for scores of 0 and 11 in both matches although he suffered in the first one due to an umpiring error.
With the series in the pocket, it will be interesting to see whether skipper Raina and coach Duncan Fletcher experiments in the middle-order.
PUJARA’s time running out
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Time is running out for Pujara in ODIs. Not the quickest of fielders, Pujara has not managed a 20 plus score in the five ODIs he has played so far. Rayudu, on his part, has never looked in control in the 12 ODIs he has played. A strike-rate of less than 70 is considered below par from a specialist willow wielder. In such a scenario, the likes of Kedar Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary might get a go in the middle-order.
However, the Indian teams, over the years, have had a knack of sticking to winning combinations even after a particular series has been clinched.