Tuesday, 5 July 2011

3rd Test: Series win, over-rate on India's mind

Roseau, Dominica: India eye completing a first-ever double of an ODI and Test series victory in the Caribbean and also improve their over-rate when they take on the West Indies in the third and final Test that starts at the Windsor Park Stadium here on Wednesday.
Visiting skipper MS Dhoni was fined 50 per cent of his match fee in the second Test for slow over-rate, leaving him with the risk of being banned for one Test should his bowlers once again fall behind. So besides taking wickets and winning the series, the Indian bowlers will also be required to return to their bowling mark quicker than they have done in the first two Tests.

But the Indians, leading the three-match series 1-0, may have to counter pace and bounce on the Windsor Park track, demanding a few changes in their batting lineup that hasn't performed as expected.
Dropped for the England tour, Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli have had a forgetful outing in the series so far. Kohli has been a revelation for India in the limited-overs format but with just 46 runs in his debut Test series, the young gun is discovering the other side of the green. Filling in for regular openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, Vijay has fared even worse with just 22 runs in two matches.
So Dhoni might be forced to consider Parthiv Patel and S Badrinath as replacements to bolster India at the top and in the middle, though Vijay and Kohli are undoubtedly more talented than their suggested replacements.
India's bowling, which has so far been well served by pacers Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, was delivered a blow on Tuesday when the two bowlers collided while playing football in practice. While Ishant suffered a cut underneath his left eye, Praveen reportedly looked concussed.
However, both should be fine as per reports and with a fit-again Munaf Patel available for selection, Dhoni will be tempted to ask Abhimanyu Mithun to sit out to make place for Munaf.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is far from his best with a thin tally of five wickets in the series, will also like to end the tour on a high. He is just two wickets away from getting to 400 Test wickets and would hope that the landmark coincides with an Indian victory.

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