Monday, December 5
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)
It's been more than a month since West Indies landed in India but they are yet to win a game. They haven't been pushovers though, and have made India work hard for victory in most of the matches. Their captain, Darren Sammy, has regularly lauded the never-say-die spirit and character of his team, but another defeat on Monday will leave them with only dead rubbers to break their duck. West Indies' ODI successes in their previous two home series have also come only once the trophy was lost.
India have far less to worry about. While the form of the openers is a little concerning, most of their experiments have paid off. They can't complain too much about the manner in which their new-look pace attack has fared in the first two matches, Rohit Sharma has played two match-turning innings on his comeback, and Ravindra Jadeja has flourished as an allrounder at No. 7. The team management would like some runs for Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina, though, before the series is over.
The massive crowds at the previous two matches in Cuttack and Visakhapatnam have sparked off talk about how India needs to play more at smaller cricketing centres. With the scheduling once again ignoring the weekend, it will be interesting to see what the response is on Monday in Ahmedabad. The Sardar Patel Stadium has already hosted three World Cup matches this year, including a high-profile India v Australia quarter-final. Will the fans show up for a one-day game in which the biggest names on both teams are missing?
India WWWWW (Most recent first) West Indies LLLWW
In the spotlight
When India toured the West Indies earlier this year, Suresh Raina was the captain of the side, on the back of crucial innings in the quarter-final and semi-final of the World Cup. He failed in the one-dayers in the Caribbean, but had a more fruitful time against England. Still, Virat Kohli's outstanding form all year, and Rohit's recent resurgence means Raina could find himself out of the XI when MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh return. He needs a solid innings or two in the remainder of the series to make his case for a place in the starting XI for the Australia tri-series.
It's only two months since Denesh Ramdin made his comeback to the West Indies side after more than a year on the sidelines, partly as a result of not scoring runs. His batting in the few chances since his return haven't merited him a position as high as No. 6 in the line-up, and he needs to tighten up his keeping as well - dropping Kohli early on proved very costly for West Indies in the second ODI.
Pitch and conditions
The track at the Sardar Patel Stadium will allow the bowlers to extract pace, curator Dhiraj Parsana said on the eve of the match. "The wicket here has always been good for batting, but the bowlers would also have a good time I believe, as they would be able to get good pace," Parsana said. "The side that wins the toss should bat first." However, dew could be a factor here, prompting the captains to decide otherwise. "Efforts have been made to keep the [effects of] dew to a minimum," Parsana said. "We have stopped watering the field three days prior to the match and have also sprayed [the outfield with] a special kind of chemical."
For the home side, the person whose place is most under the scanner is Parthiv Patel. The lack of an alternative wicketkeeper in the squad, though, will keep Parthiv in the XI for only his second international game at his home ground. It is unlikely there will be any experimentation in the make-up of the side that won the first two games.
India (possible) 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Virender Sehwag (capt), 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 R Vinay Kumar, 10 Varun Aaron, 11 Umesh Yadav.
West Indies have to decide whether they need to play two specialist quicks when they have three medium-pace bowling allrounders - Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell - in the side. There's also Lendl Simmons to turn to in case a few overs of medium-pace are needed. Marlon Samuels alone isn't enough for the spin department, particularly in the subcontinent. How they will find a place for an extra spinner remains to be seen.
West Indies 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Adrian Barath, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Danza Hyatt, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Andre Russell, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Sunil Narine/Ravi Rampaul.
Stats and trivia
India have now won 11 successive one-dayers at home, comfortably a record, beating their previous longest victorious streak of seven matches between 1981 and 1983
Viat Kohli is now 57 short of Jonathan Trott in the race to be the highest run-getter of the year in one-dayers
West Indies have played India at the Sardar Patel Stadium four times, winnings on three occasions
"It's difficult to say I am satisfied when you are losing. But we have shown a lot of spirit and created opportunities to win."
Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, repeats something he and Sammy have said all tour
"McGrath is my hero. I am inspired by him and trying to bowl like him."
India fast-bowler Umesh Yadav has high aspirations