Pune: Boosted by the return of white-ball specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India will aim to bounce back from the heart-stopping draw that denied them a 2-0 lead when they face a resurgent West Indies in the third One-Day International on Saturday.
After an easy eight-wicket victory in the series opener in Guwahati, India were denied a 2-0 lead in the five-match rubber as the tourists managed to salvage a morale-boosting tie in the second ODI at Visakhapatnam.
But the return of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah will definitely add a lot of meat to the Indian bowling that has been clobbered for more than 320 runs on both occasions.
It will also be interesting to see whether skipper Virat Kohli and the team management will still want to continue with Umesh Yadav, especially after the pacer successively failed to convert his success in Tests to limited-overs cricket.
With just 16 ODIs to go for the ICC 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, India will also be hoping to get their middle-order conundrum solved, especially the No. 5, 6 and 7 spots.
While Ambati Rayudu justified his skipper’s backing for the No. 4 slot with a fluent 73 in the second match, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was promoted to No. 5 failed to score briskly and just looked a shadow of his former self.
Rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant also failed to play well at No. 6 while Ravindra Jadeja also departed cheaply.
Moreover, with the dew making life difficult for the spinners, batting first will be a challenge for Kohli as both his wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav find it tough to grip the ball.
Moreover, left-arm spinner Jadeja will need to step up his white ball form if he has to make the cut for the World Cup squad.
The visitors will once again bank on the likes of the in-form duo of Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope to score the bulk of the runs, with the others — Kieron Powell, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Rovman Powell — playing the supporting role.
The West Indians will also be hoping for veteran Marlon Samuels to pull up his socks and strengthen the fragile middle order.
Skipper Jason Holder has had a decent series so far, contributing with both the bat and ball, but the tourists will mainly be concerned with the performance of their frontline pacers in Kemar Roach and Oshane Thomas, who have been milked at will by the Indian top order.
The West Indian spin duo of Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nurse have a lot to work on in the middle overs if they fancy any chances of levelling the series on Saturday.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey.
West Indies: Jason Holder (Captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (WK), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.