India carry momentum going into decider against South Africa

India carry momentum going into decider against South Africa

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India will look to deny South Africa their first bilateral One-Day series victory on Indian soil as MahendraDhoni’s men go into the fifth and final game in Mumbai on Sunday high on confidence after a resounding 35-run win in Chennai to level the series.

India fought back remarkably after falling behind twice in a series that has been riveting to say the least. Virat Kohli struck a spectacular hundred in Chennai on Thursday to provide the hosts the momentum and an edge going into the decider. Inthefour previous tours, the visitors had lost thrice and squared the rubber 2-2 once. 

The tourists were without in-form all-rounder JP Duminy and fast bowler Morne Morkel in the previous game, and Hashim Amla told a media conference on match eve that both will be sorely missed in the decider.

“I don't think Morne is fit enough to play tomorrow. He bowled a bit in the nets and probably we will take the final call tomorrow, but I don't think he will be fit," Amla said of the quick, who bowled with a leg injury to grab a match-winning 4-39 in the third game at Rajkot.

“He (Duminy) has been an unbelievable and consistent performer for us over the last couple of years. He adds great balance to the team with his off-spinners as well. It has changed things a bit in the team but that's what you have a squad for. No big series is ever won on 11 players, you usually have about 15 players contributing at different times. This is one of those times,” added opener Amla, who himself has been struggling for form.

“If you look at the tour itself it has been nice to win four (including two T20 Internationals) out of six. It’s been really good going from our side. Both teams have been extremely competitive in ODIs. Tomorrow will be an exciting game. Both teams have positives and things to work on.”

Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has filled the slot of injured Ravichandran Ashwin remarkably, and the ‘Turbanator’ along with leg-spinner Amit Mishra and left-arm spinner Axar Patel has bowled excellently in tandem. The hosts are expected to field three spinners for the final game as well.

Suresh Raina’s return to form ahead of the decider has partially solve some of the home team’s batting woes, with Kohli at 3, Ajinkya Rahane at 4 and Dhoni at 6 after left-handed Raina. Opener Shikhar Dhawan is yet to get among runs, and remains a huge cause for concern with the four-Test series to get underway on November 5 after the ODIs.

The match will start at 13:30 IST.

The squads (from): India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Axar Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, S Arvind, Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu, Gurkeerat Mann. South Africa: AB De Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf Du Plessis, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Khaya Zondo, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Dean Elgar.

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