India face England in decider

A buoyant India will seek to record a rare overseas one-day series triumph as they take on England in the decider at Lord's on Saturday.

updated: September 08, 2007 12:30 IST
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A buoyant India will seek to record a rare overseas one-day series triumph as they take on an equally determined England in the decider at the Lord's in London on Saturday.

The Indians have already made the tour of England memorable by winning the Test series 1-0 after a gap of 21 years and an ODI series victory would serve as the icing on the cake.

Rahul Dravid and his men have shown tremendous resilience to bounce back from a 1-3 deficit and the hallowed turf of the Lord's provides the perfect setting for an engrossing battle between the two teams.

The sensational win in the last game at the Oval on Wednesday will be a huge morale-booster for India as the batsmen showed character to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.

The seven-batsman strategy paid dividends for the team in the last two matches and it was the scintillating strokeplay by youngster Robin Uthappa, who came into bat at number seven, which helped India clinch the cliff-hanger at the Oval.

The visitors will probably retain the same combination for the summit showdown where the batsmen would again have to play a big role.

Dravid knows that the decider will not be a cakewalk for his players who have to show a lot of character to win their third match on the trot.

Resilience the key

"We got a bit of the rub of the green, but we have shown a lot of resilience after a long tour. (But) it should be a cracker of a game at Lord's," Dravid said.

Dravid said the side never really gave in despite trailing 1-3 in the ODI series.

"We still felt we could win. At 1-3, we knew we'd lost a couple of close games that could have gone the other way," he said.

The opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly is in great form and India would again bank on the experience of the veteran duo to get off to a flying start.

Knowing that the seven-batsman formula has clicked for the side, Dravid would not like to tamper with the combination and prefer to restrict the home willowers with four bowlers, aided by a few part-timers.

However, the Indian team management may have to give a serious thought on whether to persist with an erratic Ajit Agarkar, who has proved to be quite expensive right through the series.

With Munaf Patel being equally expensive, Dravid could have a look at R P Singh to share the new ball with pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.

The spin-tango of offie Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawala has so far done a decent job for the visitors and Dravid may not like to alter that combination.

Fielding, which has been pathetic right through the tour, showed marginal improvement in the last game, but the Indians need to be a lot more sharper in this area.

Bold face

Despite the two consecutive defeats, England captain Paul Collingwood has put up a bold face and fancied his chance of putting it across the Indians in the crucial game.

"We were put under a lot of pressure, but I was delighted by the way we fought back. When you see a team fighting like that it's a great thing for a captain," Collingwood said.

"We have to get our heads held high because we know we've done good things in the series. We've got to prove we're still playing good cricket, which we are doing," he said.

The injury-induced absence of star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has hit the home team to a great extent.

While England have a strong batting line-up, their bowling is the weak link since most of their frontline bowlers are in the injury list.