Toss India won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat
Needing victory to deny Graeme Smith and South Africa a first-ever one-day series win on Indian soil, Rahul Dravid gambled by electing to field, citing the dew factor which would come into play in the evening session. It was a risky decision given that the team batting first had won five of seven matches played under lights at Mumbai, and that no side had chased more than 225 to triumph in the darkness.
India's last outing here ended in a 77-run defeat against Australia in the TVS Cup two years ago, with Michael Clarke and Nathan Bracken taking four wickets apiece to buttress a superb century from Damien Martyn. South Africa, emphatic winners in front of a packed Eden Gardens, made just the one change, with Makhaya Ntini, who recovered from illness, replacing Albie Morkel.
Despite that defeat, all the more painful because of the antics of certain sections of the crowd that booed even Sachin Tendulkar, India kept faith in the same XI, with Gautam Gambhir the bail-out clause in the event of another batting collapse. There was a definite tinge of green to the pitch which may have prompted Dravid to do what he did, but it was clear that India's bowlers would need to pull out all the stops to curtail a South African side that had been given a huge boost by the events in Kolkata. At least here, they could depend on the home fans to behave like home fans normally do, especially when supporting a team that has won seven of its last 10 completed games.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Andrew Hall, 3 Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, 5 Justin Kemp, 6 Mark Boucher (wk), 7 Shaun Pollock, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Charl Langeveldt, 10 Makhaya Ntini, 11 Andre Nel. Supersub: Robin Peterson.
India 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Rahul Dravid (capt), 4 Mohammad Kaif, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Murali Kartik, 11 RP Singh. Supersub: Gautam Gambhir.