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India aim to continue winning streak

By The Assam Tribune

KOLKATA, Nov 12 (PTI): Unchallenged by Sri Lanka so far, India would look to keep the foot on the pedal in their pursuit for a series whitewash when the two teams face off in the fourth and penultimate cricket One-dayer at Eden Gardens here tomorrow.

Sri Lankan have added some sting to their attack by bringing back spinner Ajantha Mendis and have sought to shore up the batting line-up by calling Lahiru Thrimanne and Dinesh Chandimal for the remaining two matches.

The addition of these players may be too late for the visitors as India have already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in five-ODI series, but at least they have shown the will to fight so that they can salvage some pride.

India have tested their bench strength in the absence of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and have further re-arranged their squad by bringing in Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa in place of Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja for the final two inconsequential ODIs.

There has been a debate over who would partner the left-handed Dhawan in the World Cup with Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane vying for the opening slot.

Sharma has returned to action after a two-month injury layoff with a match-winning 142 for India A in the preparatory match against the visitors, and the Mumbaikar will look to impress the think-tank at the top of the order.

Dhawan has been the chief architect of India�s three comprehensive wins as the leading run-getter of the series with 283 runs at an average of 94.33. The selectors have opted to rest the left-hander.

Apart from Sharma, explosive batsman and part-time wicketkeeper Uthappa would return to the fold and it would be interesting to see how the re-jigged batting order fares against a spiced-up Lankan attack with mystery spinner Mendis back in the side.

Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews had hit out at his batsmen for showing lack of intensity. The Islanders now seemed to be showing some urgency by withdrawing the under-fire Kumar Sangakkara along with Upul Tharanga, Dhammika Prasad and Suraj Randiv.

The wake-up call might have come a bit late as they have already surrendered the series 0-3 after their six-wicket loss in Hyderabad but the Lankans will seek to salvage some pride.

Mendis� return will bolster their attack, which has so far looked out of sorts as the Indian batsmen never had any trouble in the series so far.

Besides Mendis, the Lankans also have brought back Thirimanne and Chandimal who have had a decent outings against the West Indies A recently.

Thirimanne hit three fifties in four innings during that tour, while Chandimal hit two half-centuries in his four outings. The duo is expected to add some much-needed firepower to the batting.

Jayawardene has been their batsman in form, hitting an elegant 118 off 124 balls as he fell short of partners in the middle to be bundled out for 242 in Hyderabad.

Missing out on a second hundred in the tour, Dhawan got out for 91, while skipper Kohli scored a fluent half-century in India�s six-wicket win in their last match in Hyderabad.

In bowling, India pacer Umesh Yadav is relishing the challenge of being the pace spearhead in absence of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, having taken the highest number of wickets so far with eight scalps from the three matches.

Yadav led the charge with a four-wicket burst while left-arm spinner Axar Patel chipped in with three to restrict the Lankans in Hyderabad.

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