'Pacy' fourth ODI today
Bolstered by their dramatic come-from-behind win in the last game, India will look to keep the winning momentum going when they meet West Indies in the fourth one-dayer in Dharamshala on Friday on what is expected to be a pacy track.
The series is locked at 1-1 and the picturesque HPCA Stadium will provide the perfect setting as the two teams square off to seize the initiative before the final match of the series is played at Eden Gardens on October 20.
India's series-levelling victory at Delhi's Kotla was combination of West Indies' self destruction while cruising towards an easy win and also inability to play on a track where there is some turn on offer.
Spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra exploited the helpful conditions perfectly as West Indies lost eight wickets for 45 runs in their pursuit of a competitive total of 263.
However, India might find it difficult for their spinners to extract same kind of help from the track in Dharamshala as they have done from 22-yard strip in Delhi.
Notwithstanding the erratic display from the Caribbean batsmen, the battle in the backdrop of the Dhauladar mountain range should be exciting, considering the fast and bouncy nature of the pitch.
There is always a chance of rain in the hills. Therefore even a light spell of shower will further aid the pacemen besides making the conditions colder.
The teams chose to stay put in Delhi post the match on October 11 and arrived at a much-higher altitude here only on the eve of the match.
Facing a decent West Indies pace attack on a lively surface will be a test for the Indian batsmen. The home team had a tough time batting first here against England in January 2013, when it lost half its men for 79 runs before going on to lose the match.
Anyway, it will be a challenge for the Indian bowlers to contain the in-form Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels, who have been the stand-out performers with the willow, for the visitors.
While Samuels hit an unbeaten 126 in the first game at Kochi that the West Indies won convincingly, Smith was guilty of throwing his wicket away at the cusp of century (97) in the second game in the capital.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how the unpredictable visitors bat on a tricky surface.
On the bowling front, West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo would surely expect his fast bowlers to come to the party. He has the option of bringing in speedster Kemar Roach to support Ravi Rampaul and Jerome Taylor.
All-rounder Andre Russell will be expected to keep things tight in the middle overs.