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India eye series-clinching win

February 02, 2009 16:15 IST

Bolstered by two consecutive victories, a confident India will aim to wrap up the five-match series when they take on Sri Lanka in the third one-dayer in Colombo on Tuesday.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men have been on target in the first two matches but the Indian captain would be taking no chance under floodlights after India just about managed a close 15-run win in a nail-biting day-night affair at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

Dhoni, who has led the team to seven successive ODI wins, ha swarned his teammates against dropping their guards before the series was claimed. A few chinks were seen in the Indian armour in the second match when bowlers looked confused in the powerplay overs and Dhoni wants a more disciplined show by his bowlers.

The batting has also not fired but to be fair, the Indians have been hit hard by a few dubious umpiring decisions. But the top order batsmen have to get into the act quickly if they hope to clinch the series tomorrow itself.

Sachin Tendulkar has been a victim of poor umpiring decisions in both the matches and the maestro will be hoping that he gets the chance to make amends on Tuesday.

In bowling dapertment, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma have a big role to play since India do not have any experienced spinners in their ranks.

Dhoni, who is known for his calm composure in anxious moments, lost his cool when he saw bowlers clueless in the powerplay overs.

"It was tough and we did not have such a game for a long time," Dhoni said. Although Indian batsmen did not fall prey to Sri Lankan spin wizards Muttiah Muralidharan and Ajantha Mendis, they struggled to hit boundaries against the duo.

"We have to be careful as such wins often make us relaxed a bit. We should remember that the series is yet to be won. We want to win the series and for that each of us have to give 100 per cent," Dhoni said.

For a jaded looking Sri Lanka, it is a must win situation and they would be desparate to keep the series alive by clinching a win.

The hosts are struggling to find a steady opening pair even as an unimpressive middle order and blunted striking weapons leave them in a desparate position.

Muralitharan and Mendis are not as dangerous as their captain Mahela Jayawardene would want them to be. The home team's fielding is also looking dispirited.

"I would be lying if I say that we are not tired," Jayawardene said. "During India innings we gave away too many runs when we were in control. We have to minimise mistakes and raise our game in the remaining matches," he added. He got back among the runs with his first 50 in 14 games and that goes back a long way to the tour of Zimbabwe in November.

Murali has failed to capture in two games the two wickets required to become the greatest ODI bowler in the game's history.

It is pretty much back to basics for Sri Lanka. Consistency at the top order, restore the killer instinct to make use of the batting skills to optimum, tight fielding and bowlers doing the job.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jaywardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilina Kandamby, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thilina Thushara and Angelo Mathews.

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