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The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
January 2, 2013
Match factsJanuary 3, 2012
Big PictureIndia are again left needing to come from behind, third time in their last four series. A superb display of swing bowling by Junaid Khan crippled India's batting line-up on an overcast Chennai morning before MS Dhoni rescued his team with a fighting century. Such a procession of batsmen to the pavilion appears unlikely in Kolkata, where overhead conditions haven't been as bowler-friendly and the curator Prabir Mukherjee has promised a "typical one-day wicket with lots of runs" with the side batting first having an early advantage. But the visitors have been practicing hard to seal their team's first bilateral ODI series win over India since 2005.
Pakistan's seamers bowled extended spells at the nets on Tuesday, with Umar Gul, Junaid and Mohammad Irfan aiming at one stump. India, on the other hand, missed a session on Tuesday and have an optional one on the eve of the game. They may be short of adequate preparation for a game they cannot afford to lose.
Form guide (Completed games, most recent first)India: LWWWL
Players to watchShoaib Malik was initially picked only for the T20s but has been retained for the ODIs and played a good supporting hand in Chennai. He's had a good tour so far, guiding Pakistan to victory in the first T20 before giving Nasir Jamshed company in his team's successful chase on Sunday. A former Pakistan captain, Malik has struggled to keep his place in the side for a while but his experience has come in handy in this limited-overs series.
After his century in the first Test against England in Ahmedabad, Virender Sehwag has failed to fire. He was not picked in March last year for the Asia Cup, and could be under pressure to perform, given he's had just one half-century in his last 10 innings in ODI cricket.
Team newsRohit Sharma's poor run of scores in ODIs continued in Chennai and India could consider replacing him with Ajinkya Rahane. However, there is uncertainty over Virat Kohli's availability, as he limped off the field after slipping while bowling in Chennai. MRI scans revealed no serious damage, but his condition continues to be monitored.
India (possible): 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Rohit Sharma/Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt and wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Ashok Dinda.
It seems unlikely Pakistan will make changes, even though Mohammad Irfan proved expensive in Chennai.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Junaid Khan, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Irfan.
Stats and Trivia
"If he keeps on doing that then we will find another great left arm fast-bowler of Wasim Akram's type."
Younis Khan on Junaid Khan
"We are used to playing with part-timers. Now it's difficult for them to bowl 10 overs with five players inside the circle. So you've to assess whether six batsmen are enough or seven [are needed]."
MS Dhoni says the new ODI rule, which permits only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the non-Powerplay overs, creates problems for teams that lack genuine allrounders
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddhartha Talya
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough