Umesh Yadav's red-hot bowling form combined with Indian batsmen regularly chasing stiff totals, has left West Indies staring down the barrel as the hosts attempt to clinch the ODI series 3-0 at the Sardar Patel Stadium today
Umesh Yadav's scorching bowling display in the first two games (5 wickets, economy rate: 3.94) coupled with batsmen Rohit Sharma (162 runs) and Virat Kohli's (120 runs) exploits in the middle-order has given India an unprecedented edge going into the third one-dayer against West Indies here at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera today.
Unstoppable: Umesh Yadav during a practice session at Motera
The young trio was largely responsible for India's victories at Cuttack and Vishakapatnam and will once again be in the spotlight as the hosts attempt to seal the five-match series by a three-nil margin to continue their winning streak at home. India have not lost a one-dayer at home since their loss to South Africa at Nagpur in the World Cup in March. In October, India completed a five-nil whitewash of England.
Virender Sehwag's young Indian side displayed tremendous tenacity to bounce back from tough situations in the first two ODIs. India narrowly escaped defeat in the first game while chasing a modest target of 212, and then failed to deliver the knock-out blow when it had the visitors on the hop at 170 for 9 in the second match.
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For the visitors, it will be their last chance to keep the five-match series alive. Darren Sammy's team has given a good account of themselves on the tour of India but inconsistency has brought their downfall. After losing the second match, despite bouncing back, captain Darren Sammy's blank expression said it all. "Just can't get over the line though. Sooner rather than later we can get that final push. We'll keep our head up and come back strongly," Sammy said.
For that, West Indies will have to sort out their batting. Another inexplicable collapse at Visakhapatnam left them at 163-5. Lendl Simmons and Ravi Rampaul bailed the team out with gritty knocks. India had a shaky start with stand-in captain Sehwag, Parthiv Patel and Gautam Gambhir leaving early. But Virat and Rohit played with maturity to see the team home.
Sehwag may not be scoring runs, but his captaincy has come as a whip of fresh air. Quite like his batting, he has been aggressive with his captaincy. He always had fielders in catching positions that put pressure on the West Indies batsmen. There haven't been any easy runs on offer for the visitors.