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India, South Africa to renew rivalry in ODIs

After an exciting end to the Test series, India and South Africa will lock horns in the three-match ODI series starting here Sunday at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

cricket Updated: Feb 20, 2010 21:35 IST

After an exciting end to the Test series, India and South Africa will lock horns in the three-match ODI series starting here Sunday at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

India retained their No.1 Tests status with an incredible win in Kolkata, but they have been inconsistent in the shorter format of the game. India are placed second in the ODI table but are way behind champions Australia and have the third placed Proteas breathing down their necks. South Africa can take the second spot if they win the series by a margin of 2-1 or better.

At the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here, both the teams will have their own share of problems.

Harbhajan Singh, the chief architect of Kolkata Test win, will skip the first two games for his sister's wedding while pace spearhead Zaheer Khan has been ruled out of the series due to injury. Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir are also absent with wrist and groin injuries.

But the return of Sachin Tendulkar, who opted out of the tri-series in Bangladesh, has brought back some smiles in the Indian team. Tendulkar is in great touch and has scored four consecutive Test tons.

South Africa will miss their captain Graeme Smith due to a finger fracture and veteran Jacques Kallis will lead the side. But wicketkeeper Mark Boucher is set for a return after sitting out of the Kolkata Test with a back spasm.

Kallis, however, will be banking on the presence of ODI specialists like Herschelle Gibbs, Albie Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe and Charl Langeveldt. The last minute inclusion of Hashim Amla, who was in great touch in the Test series, as a replacement for Smith will bolster the team's middle order.

South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, hero of their innings win in Nagpur, will be India's biggest concern but it will be due factor that will also play on skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's mind.