Millennium Post

India eye series edge at Rajkot

Having managed to level the series, a determined India will be eager to produce an improved performance when they take on South Africa in the third <g data-gr-id="29">One Day</g> International at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts were propped up by a fighting unbeaten 92 by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a <g data-gr-id="28">half century</g> from Ajinkya Rahane during the second ODI while the rest of the batting line-up fluffed their lines. The bowlers then produced a superlative performance to successfully defend the modest total of 247/9 and carve out a 22-run victory.

Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and left-arm spinner Axar Patel were in superb form at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, claiming three wickets each. Patel's figures of 3/39 were the best of his career. The Proteas had earlier taken the opening ODI of the five-match series by five runs in Kanpur. The Indian victory in Indore came after three consecutive defeats to the visitors as they had lost both the matches in the Twenty20 International (T20I) series as well.

The Indian top order has been inconsistent so far, specially Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. The last time Kohli got a half century was during India's opening match of the 2015 World Cup on February 15. The Delhi batsman, who has been pushed down to the No.4 spot, will be eager to get some runs under his belt. Rahane has been the most consistent Indian batsman so far in this series as he has two back to back half centuries to his name. Opener Rohit Sharma did well in the series opener, scoring 150 to give the Indian chase a promising start and the Mumbai lad will be hoping for another big innings on Sunday on a pitch which is expected to favour the batsmen. 

Dhoni's return to form will be another morale booster for the Indians. Harbhajan Singh had replaced fellow off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the last match. The Punjab spinner had bowled well after coming on as the first change bowler, checking the flow of runs while picking up two wickets and may expect to retain his place.

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