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5th ODI: Team India toils hard at practice; MS Dhoni has a crack at spin

Not only was the man behind the stumps stepping forward and smashing the ball at net sessions, he was also seen bowling spin along with Axar Patel.

Written by: Brett Ellis, New Delhi [ Updated: February 13, 2018 18:00 IST ]
Image Source : BCCI MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya at the net sessions ahead of 5th ODI vs SA

The dark clouds from Johannesburg seemed to have followed the visitors to Port Elizebeth as the chances of rain on the fifth one day international may occur, as media reports suggest. However, that does not bother the Men in Blue as they sweat it out at practice on the eve of the fifth ODI at St. George's Park.

Players such as Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni are seen having a go with the bat at the net sessions as the batsman will intend to hammer away with the conditions suiting them. 

Team India opener Shikhar Dhawan made it special on his 100th ODI appearance with his 13th century as he along with skipper Virat Kohli's 75 helped the visitors reach 289 in the first innings at Johannesburg. Former skipper Dhoni managed to contribute with his 42* and is seen lofting the ball in the net sessions. Can we expect the same at Port Elizebeth?. 

Not only was the man behind the stumps stepping forward and smashing the ball at net sessions, he was also seen bowling spin along with Axar Patel. 

The Men in Blue will expect plenty from Rahane, Pandya and Shreyas Iyer with the bat this time if the top and middle order batsmen are unable to hang on as the tides may quickly change at any given time

Team India opener Rohit Sharma is going through a rough and dry patch at the moment as his tour of South Africa hasn't been exactly what the players or fans expected after his thunderous performance in the last ODI series he played against Sri Lanka in December last year where he scored a world record third double ton. The Test series is forgettable however the limited over format is the vice-captain's area of expertise which initially raises a few questions on his form at the moment.

The spinners cannot be left out of the equation as one expensive match does not rule out the fact that the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have collected 24 wickets in the four ODIs they have played so far. Delivering with a wet ball in Johannesburg, the duo were hammered by Heinrich Claasen and David Miller who led the hosts to victory. The spinners have bamboozled the batsman in the previous matches and the Proteas will be on their toes to counter their spells.

The host's confidence has been boosted with the return of AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel as the swashbuckler played a major role in helping the batsmen understand spin. With the Johannesburg win, the hosts will aim to keep the momentum going and will aim to revive the series at St. George's Park.

India will play South Africa in the 5th ODI on February 13 at Port Elizebeth.

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