India take on West Indies today in third ODI | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India take on West Indies today in third ODI

India will be looking to edge closer to a rare ODI series victory against the West Indies in the Caribbean before embarking on a well-earned break from the game. They face the hosts in the last two ODIs of the four-match series today and on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Jul 03, 2009 02:38 IST

India will be looking to edge closer to a rare ODI series victory against the West Indies in the Caribbean before embarking on a well-earned break from the game.

They face the hosts in the last two ODIs of the four-match series on Friday and Sunday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground here. The teams are tied 1-1 after the first two games at Sabina Park in Jamaica last week.

The visitors won the opening fixture by 20 runs, and the home team rebounded two days later to secure the second ODI by eight wickets.

On their five previous trips to the Caribbean in bilateral ODI series, India have overcome West Indies only once, a 2-1 triumph in a three-match contest seven years ago.

But Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side has a couple of other reasons why they will feel the pressure in the next few days.

Their early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup in England a few weeks ago is still uppermost in their minds, as well as their fans', who can be quite demanding and do not accept defeats easily.

Dhoni has also identified banishing the demons of India's early exit from the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean as another objective that will motivate his side.

In the second match, India looked a below-par version of the side that, before coming to the Caribbean, had lost only three of their previous 18 matches, and had climbed to No. 3 in ODI world rankings.

They allowed the West Indies to get within sight of a challenging victory target of 340 in the first ODI, and then suffered a batting meltdown in the second ODI as their age-old susceptibility to short-pitched and swing bowling were exposed.

Yuvraj Singh looks to be the only batsman in touch as was evident from his 131 in the first ODI and in some of the strokes he played in his all-too-brief 35 in the second ODI.

Dhoni made 95 in the second match, but he too has not cut the picture of the commanding figure at the crease that he is known to be.

Questions about fatigue will continue to preoccupy the discussions about India's performance, but they can silence all the debate with two commanding victories in the next few days.