India v Sri Lanka: Will Vishakapatnam's YSR Stadium be Team India's lucky charm?
As hosts gear up to face Sri Lanka in today's ODI series decider, the Indian camp reckons that final-game pressure won't get to them in port city
The ACA-VDCA Dr YSR Stadium has hosted two series deciders - one was in October last year against New Zealand and the other in 2007 against Sri Lanka. After 10 years, India and Sri Lanka will square up on Sunday at the same venue to decide the winner of the three-match ODI series. If India clinches the series, it will be their eighth consecutive ODI series victory and put them just behind Australia's nine consecutive series victories which they accomplished in 2008-09.
India ODI captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session on Saturday ahead of the third ODI against SL in Visakhapatnam. Pic/AFP
This Indian team seem to be immune to the pressure of a final game. In the last five years, India have faced this situation of winning the final, five times in a bilateral series at home. And the hosts disappointed only once when South Africa butchered the Indian attack at the Wankhede Stadium in 2015. India opener Shikhar Dhawan stressed they are used to this pressure now.
“It's a final game and of course there is pressure, but we are used to it. There is going to be a big crowd turning out to support us. We have a strong side. We believe in our ability and skills, so we are just going to play it like any other game. We will try to do the basics right and follow the process. The other things will follow,” he said on the eve of the match.
India skipper Rohit Sharma, who is coming into this match on the back of his third ODI double ton, may not have pleasant memories of this ground. The India opener suffered a right upper quadriceps tendon injury in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand last year that ruled him out for close to three months. While the pitch here had a green tinge to it in the morning when the Sri Lankans practised, the grass was hardly seen as the day progressed with the Indian think tank having a long chat with the curator.
Predominantly, the pitch here favours spinners. The last time India played here, their side included three spinners with Amit Mishra claiming five wickets to bowl out New Zealand for 79 in the final contest. Dhawan remained non-committal on whether India will include both wrist spinners (Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav) if the pitch
demands. “If the pitch aids spin more, there will be two spinners in the side. But it's for the captain to decide,” he said.
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