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India unlikely to take foot off pedal against England in fourth ODI in Mumbai

October 23, 2011 - Mumbai

India are unlikely to take their feet off the pedal when they take on England in the fourth one-day international at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday afternoon, despite winning the series three nil.

The Men in Blue are expected to push for a whitewash in the five-match ODI series.

Having outplayed England in the first three encounters, Dhoni and his men have returned to the scene of India's World Cup triumph.

The 3-0 unassailable lead going into the penultimate clash on a wicket that is expected to be a slow turner may not be redemption, but it must have assuaged some bad feelings the Indian captain might have carried since his return home from the disastrous tour of England.

What should be more pleasing to him and coach Duncan Fletcher is that the triumphant run in the current series has been achieved without the presence of several key members of the World Cup-winning squad, indicating the strong bench strength, albeit in home conditions.

Team India has done everything right thus far and taken the insurmountable lead with the same eleven players turning out in the first three matches and the batting order too remaining constant.

The home team has batted well, both while chasing the target or setting one, with skipper Dhoni himself taking up the challenge when the innings had gone into a slight wobble on occasions.

Among the most pleasing aspects of the five-wicket victory in Mohali was the form shown by young opener Ajinkya Rahane-the lone Mumbai representative in the squad in this series, who would be playing his first international encounter in front of his home crowd.

At Mohali, 20-year-old Rahane scored a man-of-the-match winning 91, while Parthiv Patel scored 38 in a stand of 79 that helped lay a good platform for Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja to finish off the match and seal the series triumph.

With Gautam Gambhir also showing good form with a half century, the stiff 300-run target was reached with five wickets to spare.

England bowlers have been largely clueless on how to tame the Indian batting line up on shirt-front wickets, unlike in the recent series back home when the shoe was on the other foot. They need to come out with something different if they have to make a match of it here.

To add to their woes, pacer Chris Woakes has picked up an injury without playing a match in the series and has been replaced by Graham Onions in the squad.

India too have lost young Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav, who has had a mixed series, following an injury in the previous game at Mohali on October 20.

His replacement, Bangalore-based Abhimanyu Mithun, has played four Tests and a couple of ODIs in his short international career while his rival for the spot vacated by Yadav, has none.

It could be a toss-up between him and greenhorn Varun Aaron for the third seamer's spot. The largely inexperienced Indian bowling attack has done enough to keep the English batsmen under pressure.

The spin duo of left arm Ravindra Jadeja and off break bowler R Ashwin have kept the run-scoring down to put the England middle-order under pressure to improve the run-rate.

Dhoni has also hinted that with the series already in pocket, India might test its bench strength in the next two matches.


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