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Preview, 5th ODI: India aim to seal the series against South Africa

By Unnikrishnan
Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan will have to lead batting for India

Port Elizabeth, February 12: Knocked back in the previous match, India will look to crush a South African revival before it becomes a threat to their pursuit of a maiden ODI series triumph here when the two sides clash in the fifth one-dayer, on Tuesday (February 12).

India lead 3-1 after winning the first in Durban by six wickets, the second in Centurion by nine wickets and the third in Cape Town by 124 runs.

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The Proteas bounced back by winning the rain-affected and lightning-struck Pink ODI in Johannesburg by five wickets.

India's wrist-spinners versus South Africa's batting line-up is still the key contest going ahead in this series.

At Johannesburg, the dual rain intervention affected India's momentum with both the bat and ball.

WATCH INDIA ARRIVING AT PORT ELIZABETH

More importantly, it reduced the target sufficiently that, despite AB de Villiers' relative early dismissal, the home batsmen didn't have much trouble getting past.

Additionally, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were not used to great effect as Virat Kohli chose to rely on the spinners, even when they were unable to respond to the Proteas' concentrated attack.

Kedar Jadhav

Jadhav's fitness

In this light, India's team selection will come into focus in Port Elizabeth. There are still questionmarks about the fitness of Kedar Jadhav, who suffered a hamstring injury in Cape Town and missed the previous game.

Jadhav is adept at bowling slow spin, and mixing it up well with Chahal and Yadav. India do not have many fall-back options in Jadhav's absence - Rohit Sharma last bowled an ODI over at Perth in January 2016.

Ajinkya Rahane has scored 11 and 8 since making a comeback 79 at No.4. Pandya's forgettable tour with the bat (since the first Test in early January) continues, with scores of 14 and 9 in his last two outings.

The series' score-line has conveniently hid the fact that India have a top-heavy batting order, despite the poor form of Rohit Sharma, who has scored 40 runs in the first four ODIs and boasts a gradually sinking ODI average of 11.45 in 12 matches on South African soil.

Kohli (393 runs) and Shikhar Dhawan (271 runs) have scored nearly thrice the number of runs put together by the remaining batsmen (239) and it ought to be a cause of major worry for the Indian think-tank.

This fact will not go overlooked and South Africa will be keen to exploit the Indian line-up's frailty and dismiss Kohli and Dhawan cheaply to gain an early advantage.

India's poor record

India's record here is nothing to write about either. They have lost all 5 ODIs played here since 1992.

Four of those defeats came against South Africa, while India even managed to lose to Kenya here during the one-day triangular as part of their 2001-02 tour.

In fact, in five previous ODI outings in Port Elizabeth, India have never scored 200 runs here as their 176 against South Africa in October 2001 is their highest total yet.


Teams (from): India: Virat Kohli (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.


South Africa: Aiden Markram (capt), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khayelihle Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), AB de Villiers.


Match starts at: 4:30 pm IST


Live on: Sony TEN 1, Sony TEN 1 HD


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    Story first published: Monday, February 12, 2018, 16:29 [IST]
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