Onus on India to close out series

Match details

St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
February 13, Tuesday; 13:00 local, 16:30 IST
Live on Sony Ten 1 HD, Ten 1 (English), Ten 3 HD, Ten 3 (Hindi)

The main picture

A combination of dropped catches, the continuing bad habit of bowling no-balls at critical moments and the naive decision to bat first by Virat Kohli meant that India didn’t make their winning momentum count in the fourth ODI and seal their maiden ODI series win on the South African soil. That the Proteas won without a major contribution with the bat from AB de Villiers must be particularly satisfying for the host. Even though the dynamics changed when South Africa resumed their innings after the lightning/rain stoppage, David Miller (39) and Heinrich Klaasen’s (43*) crucial knocks and their tackling Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were the major positives to come out of the Pink ODI for the home team.

South Africa succinctly sent a strong message India’s way with a belligerent batting display on Saturday night: if you want to win your first ODI series on our soil, you have to do it, we’re not surrendering. In fairness, India lost focus after dismissing de Villiers and before they came to the realisation that the match wasn’t done and dusted, South Africa had gained control, of course with a helping hand from India.

Therefore, come Tuesday (February 13), India’s resolve will be tested as much as their cricket skills. India haven’t quite played as a team this series, with only Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan contributing with the bat and Chahal and Kuldeep spinning India to victories. Though this pattern of sorts shouldn’t worry the team management, the likes of Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya have to raise their game to ease the burden on the four players aforementioned. Fair to say that India’s relative failure to play as a unit was a factor in their failure to win at the Wanderers Stadium.

South Africa dropped Imran Tahir for the fourth ODI and their decision to field an all-seam bowling attack paid dividends. All their pace bowlers harnessed the extra bounce on offer from the Wanderers pitch and the Proteas don’t have to tinker with their bowling attack for the fifth ODI. Seamers and pace bowlers have historically done well at St George’s Park and, fundamentally speaking, South Africa don’t have to make life easier for India by fielding a spinner. David Miller had made only 32 runs in the first three ODIs and his contribution with the bat to South Africa’s five-wicket in Jo’Burg will have restored his confidence and that of the team management on him. Andile Phehlukwayo too came good for the first time this series with the bat. Miller, Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris are vital to the home team’s chances of denying India a series win.

India will hope that they can repeat their Durban heroics at St George’s Park, where they haven’t won any of their five ODIs (four against South Africa and one against Kenya). As aforementioned, the seamers have ruled the roost here and can again be expected to on Tuesday. In day-night matches (15), teams batting first and second have had similar results, with the former winning eight and the latter winning six; one match has failed to produce a result. The weather forecast suggests that Tuesday’s fixture will not be interrupted by rain. The temperature in the mid-twenties should be comforting for the players.

Recent form

SA: WLLLW (from left to right, last five completed matches)

India vs South Africa 5th ODI playing XI, team news

South Africa’s playing XI in the last match is arguably their strongest, considering India play spin well and Tahir hadn’t been effective in the first three ODIs to warrant a place. And given the history of seam bowlers doing well at St George’s Park, a factor the home team must be well aware of, you can expect them to stick with the winning combination from the fourth ODI.

Possible South Africa playing XI for the fifth ODI: 1 Aiden Markram (c), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 5 Jean-Paul Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lungi Ngidi

India, if they go by the venue history, may field only one spinner, though whoever (of Chahal and Kuldeep) gets the chop might feel aggrieved. Hardik Pandya’s overall form is a cause for worry and, in usual circumstances, might coerce the team management to drop him. But Pandya’s bowling, in this instance, is likely to save him the chop. Ajinkya Rahane has failed with the bat in two consecutive matches but will probably be persisted with for tomorrow’s match. If Kedar Jadhav regains fitness, he might well be restored to the playing XI in Shreyas Iyer’s place.

Possible India playing 11 for fifth ODI vs South Africa: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Shreyas Iyer/Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal/Mohammed Shami/Shardul Thakur, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Match prediction

The fifth ODI has the makings of being an intriguing contest. India will remain confident despite the horror hour after de Villiers’ dismissal which led to their loss in Jo’Burg. However, their job has been made tougher now by South Africa’s resurgence and their seemingly new-found solution to playing the Indian wrist-spinners (if the Chahal-Kuldeep duo does play). With both teams in a crunch situation, the team who play their best cricket will reign supreme.

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