The venue for the fourth one-dayer is famous for its fickle weather. Sunshine and rain go hand in hand in the hill stations nestled in the Dhauladhar range.
It is amidst this setting that India and West Indies will try to gain an upper hand in a series reduced to a four-match affair. Both the teams have been dealing with number of issues on and off the field.
On the one hand, West Indies are involved in an ongoing tussle with the body representing the region’s players over payment issues, India, known to dominate at least at home, has looked far from convincing.
In Kochi, the Caribbeans put up a superlative show and sealed a 124-run win while India levelled the series in Delhi. But one can’t ignore the fact that West Indies, after looking certain to win, lost eight wickets for just 45 runs. In both the matches, the team chasing lost their way, with skipper MS Dhoni’s plans to tackle dew coming unstuck in Kochi.
Dharamsala will again leave teams facing a tricky situation, although the day-night game will enable the teams to approach the game on level-pegging compared to day games.
In Dharamsala, apart from the weather, a lively pitch, dew and the onset of winter, which makes the evening chilly, are things the teams will be taking into account before deciding the playing XI.
Reaching the venue after a forced break of five days due to the cancellation of the 3rd ODI in Vizag, India headed for practice.
Dhoni will be aware of the fact that batting and bowling looked vulnerable at some stage or the other in both the matches. Given the conditions here, the team management will be toying with the idea of going in with four pacers and a spinner or play an extra batsman.
“We haven’t thought about the playing XI yet. Right now, the priority is to get to know of the conditions and the pitch, how it has been prepared at this time of the year.
One has to remember that the earlier ODI hosted here was a day game and as such the conditions might differ. We have played in cold conditions in Delhi also so I don’t think that will be a problem. Right now it’s more about the wicket,” Virat Kohli said.
In the previous match, India batmen did well to post a competitive score on a low and slow Kotla track with Kohli finally coming good with 62, signalling a return to form.
He is far from his best, and the opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan are struggling to give the team a flying start. The bowlers did redeem themselves to some extent after the hammering they received in Kochi with Mohammed Shami’s match wining spell of 4 for 36, which followed another fourwicket haul in Kochi.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
The pitch is likely to bring cheer to the West Indies pacemen. Given weakness of India batsmen against the moving ball, West Indies can look forward to regain the series lead if their batsmen score a sizeable target, if they bat first.
In the same venue last year, India had lost half its side for 80 runs in the ODI against England, Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn causing most of the damage.