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Last chance for India to taste victory

cricket Updated: Sep 16, 2011 11:34 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times
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England have already sealed the series and the fifth one-dayer at the Sophia Gardens is a dead rubber, but MS Dhoni will not be short of inspiration. Friday's game comes at the end of the most disappointing tour of his captaincy and a win will be some consolation.

If he fails to win the fifth ODI, India wouldn't have won a single game of the 10 they have played against England this summer.

They lost all four Tests, the Twenty20 game, lost two ODIs while one was rained-off and the last one at Lord's was a tie. They would also slip to the fifth spot in world rankings behind England.

India can argue that luck hasn't been on their side in the limited-overs series. They were in a good position in the first game at Chester-le-Street when rain ended the game. But England have handled the critical moments better through the series. It is a game to score psychological points ahead of the return series in India. England are well aware that taking on the world champions in their backyard will be a completely different proposition.

Dhoni's dilemma will be to go with the aim of winning the game or test the mettle of his reserves. There is a strong opinion that young pace bowler Varun Aaron should be given a chance.

Aaron played the practice game against Leicestershire but looked raw. There's also a case for Manoj Tiwary, who will be eager for another chance after playing at Southampton within hours of landing.

Even though it ended in a tie, India will take a lot of heart from the Lord's game. It’s the first time they denied England victory. The young players have put up a creditable fight, and that augurs well for India.