India resume their quest for a historic series win in South Africa when they lock horns with the hosts in the 5th one-day international at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth. While the loss in the Pink ODI will serve as a big jolt to Virat Kohli and his troops what the Indian captain must keep in mind that yet another forecast of rain has been predicted at Port Elizabeth. However, the battle between the Proteas batsmen and the Indian wristspinners will most likely decide the outcome of the match. But if rain does become a factor then it will be interesting to see what combination the India think-tank opts for.
Over the years the venue for the fifth match has witnessed low scoring encounters. While the average first innings score is 232 it dips to 198 in the second innings. Bowlers have generally ruled the roost at this ground. After being taken apart for runs in the previous match the Indian bowlers will look to make amends. However, one area of concern remains the option of the fifth bowler. With Kedar Jadhav suffering a hamstring injury Kohli did seem to miss his services when the wristspinners leaked runs on Saturday.
Another area which needs to be looked at is the vulnerable middle-order which was exposed in the last match. After scoring 206/3 in 35 overs, the visitors lost in their way and managed to put up only 83 runs in the last 15 overs. Whether MS Dhoni is promoted up the order remains to be seen. Furthermore, no-balls and fielding lapses need to curbed if India is looking to win the match.
For South Africa, the attack seems to be the best form of defence. Putting fear aside they finally went out to express themselves in the Pink ODI and that seems the way forward. The return of AB de Villiers has also given the much-needed experience in the middle-order. Historically, South Africa hold the edge with only 11 losses in 32 matches while India have failed to register a single victory in 5 games. However, with a 3-1 lead, it is Team India who have the psychological advantage.