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Red-hot Windies aim to settle one-day score
Agence France-Presse, PTI
Jodhpur, November 20, 2002
First Published: 13:41 IST(20/11/2002)
Last Updated: 14:56 IST(20/11/2002)

India are in danger of losing their first one-day series this year as the buoyant West Indies strive to kill off the home team's challenge in the sixth match here on Thursday.

A victory for Carl Hooper's tourists will give them a decisive 4-2 lead in the seven-match series and the captain wants to leave nothing to chance for the final game in Vijayawada on Sunday.

"I want to win tomorrow and wrap up the series," Hooper said at the Barkatullah stadium on Wednesday.

"We don't want to keep the series alive till the final match. We don't want to give India a chance to come back."

The West Indies, powered by opener Chris Gayle's three brilliant centuries in five matches, have the cushion of a 3-2 lead going into Thursday's game.

India will not only have to halt the West Indian batting juggernaut, but win the two remaining matches to avoid a rare reverse on home soil.

It's a task easier said than done in the absence of captain Sourav Ganguly, batting star Sachin Tendulkar and frontline seamer Zaheer Khan, all of whom are being rested due to minor niggles.

In one-day series over the last 12 months, India beat Zimbabwe and the West Indies, drew 3-3 at home with England, won the NatWest series in England and reached the rain-abandoned final of the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

"We are obviously keen not to spoil the good record just before the World Cup," said stand-in captain Rahul Dravid.

"Injuries happen, we can't do anything about that, but the boys are very keen to give their best and win the last two matches."

India have fielded different combinations for the first five one-dayers as the selectors attempt to finalise the squad for next year's World Cup in southern Africa.

All-rounders Reetinder Sodhi and off-spinner Sarandeep Singh have been summoned for the last two matches while seamer Ajit Agarkar has been recalled after being omitted for the fourth and fifth games.

Sodhi returns for his 18th one-dayer after being overlooked for more than a year. Sarandeep last played for India against Zimbabwe earlier this year.

India are scheduled to play seven one-dayers and two Tests during next month's tour of New Zealand, but Dravid stressed the World Cup squad had to be short-listed during the current series itself.

"We will not be able to experiment away in New Zealand, so the present series against the West Indies was our last chance to test our bench strength," Dravid said.

"I think we have identified areas where we need to work on, so this series has been very useful in that sense."

India (from): Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Venkatsai Laxman, Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Sanjay Bangar, Harbhajan Singh, Reetinder Sodhi, Ajit Agarkar, Javagal Srinath, Murali Kartik, Parthiv Patel, Ashish Nehra, Sarandeep Singh.

West Indies (from): Carl Hooper (capt), Wavell Hinds, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ricardo Powell, Ridley Jacobs, Mervyn Dillon, Vasbert Drakes, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, Cameron Cuffy, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Darren Ganga.


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