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26-Dec-2009 09:42:00 GMT
India vs Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Delhi

Ind vs SL 5th ODI - Dhoni Returns as India Seek to End with Win

New Delhi: Series in the bag and a demoralised Sri Lanka at their disposal, India will be hoping to sign off on a winning note in the fifth and final one-dayer at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday.

With the fate of the series sealed at Eden Gardens and holiday spirit in the air, players from both sides would have to find some motivation for Sunday's tie which has been rendered of mere academic interest.

Leading the Indian side in absence of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni - who served a two-match ban - Virender Sehwag wanted to seal the issue in Kolkata itself for he was not sure of the track at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

Having achieved that, the home side can now let their hair down and experiment with the playing XI.

Having missed the last two one dayers, Dhoni is back in the side again, and for him Sunday's match would be a dress rehearsal for the tri-series in Bangladesh next month.

Overall for the Indian team, it would be yet another opportunity to assert their superiority over the islanders, who, along with the hosts, would compete in the Bangladesh tri-series.

Fortunately for India, Sri Lanka have proved even inferior.

The Lankan batting relies too much on Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara even though Upul Tharanga has done well with the bat.

Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene has been a huge let down, while old war horse Sanath Jayasuriya is clearly a spent force, struggling to settle in the lower middle order.

Too many injuries have also compounded their crisis and their bowling unit also lacks the sting and firepower generally associated with it.

While Chanaka Welegedara and Suranga Lakmal have been revelations, Lasith Malinga is clearly rusty after his injury layoff, while Ajantha Mendis is clearly not the enigma he once was to the Indian batsmen.

Team news

India: Dhoni was named in the squad for the final ODI, which should mean India have no intentions of resting him. His coming back should be the only change in the batting line-up, because India don't have any reserve batsmen. Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar could be rested, and this would be the best opportunity to give Sudeep Tyagi a debut.

Squad (likely): Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Sudeep Tyagi, Ashish Nehra.

Sri Lanka: Their opening problem solved, Sri Lanka are left looking for one more middle-order mainstay to go with Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Chamara Kapugedera, Thilan Samaraweera and Jayasuriya have all disappointed there, and that will be the only major decision to make. Thissara Perera and Suranga Lakmal should retain their places, while Ajantha Mendis will be back.

Squad (likely): Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedera and Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal.

Pitch and conditions
"We wanted to win the game and finish the series off in Kolkata as I am not sure of the wicket in Delhi," Sehwag said after the fourth ODI. Vijay Bahadur Mishra, the curator, predicts scores of around 250, which is an improvement on the Champions League matches, and the one against Australia.

Stats and trivia

  • Between them, Dilshan and Sehwag have scored 537 runs so far, off 418 deliveries. Fancy their opening together?
  • Harbhajan Singh and Suraj Randiv have managed the improbable in the series: they have gone for just 5.07 and 5.03 an over respectively. Welegedera (5.59) and Ravindra Jadeja (5.47) are the two other main bowlers to have gone for less than six.
  • In 59 innings since June 10, 2007, Mahela Jayawardene has scored one century, that while opening the innings. Over that period his average is 25.1 and strike-rate 75.83, as opposed to 32.02 and 76.86 overall.
  • India have played two ODIs against Sri Lanka at the Kotla, and split the spoils. The second of those matches, during the 1996 World Cup, featured a vicious assault from Jayasuriya which signalled the end of Manoj Prabhakar's career.

Match facts
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Start time 09:00 local time (03:30 GMT), 09:00am SLT

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