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Ranchi, Jan 19: A warm welcome to everyone. MS Dhoni's home city is all set to host the third ODI between India and England. The series is leveled 1-1 and that massive win in the previous ODI will give the Indians a psychological edge as they move to Ranchi for this game. MS Dhoni was hit on the thumb in the practice sessions but he is expected to be fit for today's game. India would not want to disturb the winning combination while Bresnan is expected to come back in place of Woakes for England.
India have won the toss and elected to field.
India (Playing XI): Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Ishant Sharma
England (Playing XI): Alastair Cook(c), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joseph Root, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter(w), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach
Cook: 'We would have bowled first, but it looks like a good batting wicket. We batted first and won the game in the 1st ODI. Hope we take some confidence out of that. Bresnan comes in for Woakes, who unfortunately misses out. The facilities here are pretty good.'
MS Dhoni: 'We'll bowl first. We saw fair amount of dew in the last two days, which may play a role. Out of the 40,000 people here, I guess I would have played cricket with 15,000 people. I had a word with the President Amitabh Choudhary, a couple of years ago, he always wanted to build a world class stadium. We batted well in the previous game, it was a perfect game for our bowlers. They got regular wickets. There was fair amount of turn too. We are going with the same side.'
Pitch report: 'It's flat and there is some grass that will hold the pitch together. It should stay a great batting pitch for both teams. The dew could play a factor in the 2nd innings,' says Ravi Shastri.
Preview by Nikhil Narain
The stage is set, the stakes are high and the expectations even higher as India take on England in the crucial 3rd ODI in the hometown of the Indian skipper, MS Dhoni. Rest assured, thousands would storm the stadium hours before the actual start of the match and there would be a similar number outside, just waiting to get a glimpse of Ranchi's and for that matter Jharkhand's favourite son - Mahendra Singh Dhoni. His pictures - of all shapes and sizes, would be all over the hoardings leading in to the stadium. The atmosphere is expected to be electrifying with chants of 'Mahi, Mahi, Mahi...' bursting out from the roof of the stadium. With the series tied at 1-1, both the teams have everything to play for and establish supremacy in the 5 match ODI series.
Most of the Indian batsmen have looked impressive in the series thus far. India would look for a good start from their openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir as that would provide the base for their explosive middle order to launch an attack on the English bowlers. Virat Kohli is perhaps the only Indian batsman, who is playing way below his potential and ability and he would certainly look to make amends for that. Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh look in great touch and with Ravindra Jadeja producing a cameo in the previous match, the batting looks a class apart.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed have brought with them the energy and spark much required in the Indian bowling. Their ability to swing and seam the new ball would stand them in good stead. Ishant Sharma has been in rather indifferent form and might be replaced by Ashok Dinda. Ravindra Jadeja has been a revelation and along with R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh would add variety to the spin department.
The visitors would want to erase the memories of the 2nd ODI. Alistair Cook and Ian Bell are a formidable opening pair as they displayed in the first ODI at Rajkot. Kevin Pietersen has shown us glimpses of his class and destructiveness and would be hoping to convert his starts into triple figures. India should be wary of the firepower in the English lower middle order with the likes of Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel well capable of turning a match on its head in a matter of overs.
The bowling is a worry for England and looked rather flat, both at Rajkot and at Kochi. They would be particularly concerned about the number of runs they conceded in the death overs in the previous ODI. The fast bowlers have been poor and guilty of bowling a touch short. The spinners - James Tredwell and Samit Patel have been impressive with the former being the stand out bowler for the visitors thus far.
Look out for
Virat Kohli has been a patch of the player he is and he would be desperate to prove a point or two and knowing his penchant for performing in crucial encounters, England need to be wary of this flamboyant Indian batsman.