India look to wrap up series

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India is likely to retain the winning combination when they go into the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka on Tuesday seeking to clinch the series.

Updated: August 28, 2008 06:45 IST
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Having put the pressure on the hosts with two consecutive wins, India is likely to retain the winning combination when they go into the fourth one-dayer against Sri Lanka on Tuesday seeking to clinch the series by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead.

After being thrashed in the first match in Dambulla, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his young bravehearts have tilted the scale in their favour with two close wins and need just one more triumph to record a rare overseas series win.

Although the Indians have been quite sloppy on the field with a number of dropped catches, the two victories will no doubt serve as a morale booster as they gear up for another floodlit contest at the Premadasa stadium.

The islanders, on the other hand, have no option but to win the game to stay afloat in the five-match series.

The track at the Premadasa stadium did provide some assistance to the bowlers which means that the game could turn out to be another low-scoring affair.

The two rival captains - Dhoni and Mahela Jayawardene - did prove that batting was not all that difficult on this pitch with heroic knocks and it remains to be seen whether the other batsmen show the necessary application.

Dhoni had won the important toss in the last two games and may again opt to bat first, when the wicket is at its best, if luck favours him again.

The visitors would need to work on taking catches under lights in case they have to field second, besides avoiding needless run outs.

The Indian team had a good practice session at the nets on Monday trying to plug the gaps ahead of the match in which Sri Lankans are expected to come out with all guns blazing to equalise the series before going for the final on Friday.

Though there were contributions from a few batsmen to take India to a challenging total of 237 in the third match, the Indian camp is worried about Yuvraj Singh's form.

Yuvraj was promoted in the batting order in the last game so that he could settle down before Sri Lankan skipper Jayawardene introduced the vicious spinners, but it did not work.

As far as sloppy throws and catching are concerned, Indian captain Dhoni said the colourful attire of the crowd get camouflaged with the lights and the colour of the ball when it got dirty.

"At times we see the fielders not really reacting or we see a late reaction. It is tough. But you cannot really do anything about it. Your concentration level has to be up all the time. It is very draining but that is what international cricket is all about", Dhoni said.

Despite his heroic effort in guiding India to a decent total by scoring a precious 76 runs, Dhoni attributed the victory to team effort and said he would prefer it this way in the coming matches as well.

The tourists are also happy about the way they handled the mystery bowler Ajantha Mendis though the army man got away with three wickets including two in the slog overs.

India's batting reputation has been at stake from the very beginning after they had failed to read Mendis and Muraltharan.

Barring Gautam Gambhir, who advised his team mates to read the mystery bowler's finger, none of them could gauge Mendis.

The Indian captain has adopted a positive approach of trying to take on the Sri Lankan bowlers head on and to score the maximum runs.

Though the toss has proved to be vital in the first three ODI's, nevertheless the Indian team is working hard to be able to face greater pressure.

Dhoni will also depend a great deal on the part time spinners Like Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the absence of Virender Sehwag to substitute for the fifth specialist bowler.

India: MS Dhoni (captain), S Badrinath, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, R P Singh and Parthiv Patel.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Kapugedera, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, Dilhara Fernando, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura.

Hours of play (IST): 2:30 PM

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