1st ODI: Dhoni, India get battle-ready for South Africa

first_imgSouth Africa are chasing their maiden one-day international series win in India on the back of a Twenty20 series victory and the return of pace bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. The tourists are relying on their fast bowling strength irrespective of conditions. South Africa won impressively at Dharamsala and Cuttack to win the T20 series 2-0 – with Kolkata washed out on Thursday – despite Steyn and Morkel being rested. India were bowled out for 92 on a lively pitch at Cuttack.No wonder then that India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is being clear in his preferences for the five-match series which starts at Kanpur on Sunday.”We want to make the most of the home series,” Dhoni said. “Don’t want a lot of grass cover. It is also difficult for the spinners with dew as well.”If South Africa are banking on their pace attack, India are looking to their spin offensive led by Ravichandran Ashwin to pose a challenge for South Africa, which is known to adjust well to conditions around the world.MS Dhoni under scrutinyThe South African batting lineup is fairly settled with the likes of one-day captain AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Jean-Paul Duminy proving themselves on Indian soil and are further strengthened by Indian Premier League regulars.Both second-ranked India and third-ranked South Africa are looking to find their rhythm after losing by identical 2-1 margins to Bangladesh recently.”It’s a great start in what promises to be a very challenging tour for us,” De Villiers said in Kanpur on Saturday. “In the T20 series, I don’t think a lot of people expected us to play the way we did. It’s going to be challenging but we have got very important momentum on our side and we are hoping to build on it tomorrow.”advertisementSouth Africa have lost three of their previous four ODI bilateral series in India with the Graeme Smith-led team of 2005 remaining undefeated 2-2 in a five-match series but de Villiers wants this time to be different.”I was part of that series when we drew 2-2. We’re hoping to win the series this time. We have shown the world that we can beat India in India,” de Villiers said.For India, Test captain Virat Kohli and two-time ODI double-centurion Rohit Sharma are the stars in an enviable batting lineup as the team hopes to settle well in limited overs games ahead of the World Twenty20 to be held across India in March and April.The match at Kanpur will be followed by ODIs at Indore (October 14), Rajkot (October 18), Chennai (October 22) and Mumbai (October 25). The Tests will be played in Mohali (November 5-9), Bangalore (November 14-18), Nagpur (November 25-29) and New Delhi (December 3-7).Probable XIs: India: 1 MS Dhoni (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Virat Kohli 5 Suresh Raina 6 Ambati Rayudu 7 R Ashwin 8 Umesh Yadav 9 Mohit Sharma 10 Axar Patel 11 Amit Mishra/Bhuvneshwar KumarSouth Africa: 1 AB de Villiers (capt), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Quinton de Kock, 4 Faf Du Plessis, 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Kyle Abbott/Kagiso Rabada 11 Imran Tahir.last_img read more