India's middle-order remains in the spotlight ahead of crucial third ODI

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Pressure is rising on Dhoni to perform with the bat.

With all still to play for in the five-match series, there will be plenty on the line for both teams when India and West Indies lock horns in the third ODI at Pune on Saturday.

Virat Kohli’s men currently lead the series 1-0 after their eight-wicket win in Guwahati was followed by a dramatic last-ball tie in Vishakapatnam.

With the series now at a crucial juncture, we look at the talking points ahead of the Pune clash.

BUMRAH AND BHUVI GIVE INDIA FIREPOWER

In both the ODIs so far, India’s pace attack has been found wanting in the absence of frontline bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The team conceded 326 runs in the first match before conceding another 321 in the next.

Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have both leaked runs in patches while Khaleel Ahmed has got only one game so far. Their travails have seen the selectors bring back Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar for the last three ODIs as the hosts look to steal a march over the visitors at Pune.

With Shami now left out of the squad, expect Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar to go directly into the playing XI on Saturday with Umesh missing out.

India have replenished their fast-bowing arsenal.

India have replenished their fast-bowing arsenal.

WINDIES GAINING IN CONFIDENCE

If the preceding Test series was any indicator, then the hosts would not have expected much of a resistance from the tourists who are missing plenty of big names in their ranks. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have all given the series a miss but the way the visitors have responded in their absence will please skipper Jason Holder.

The Windies have managed to cross the 300-run mark in both matches with Shimron Hetmyer in particular looking like an exciting prospect. The 21-year-old left-hander was completely at sea in the Tests but has turned on the style in the ODIs with his nonchalant explosive batting which has already fetched him 200 runs.

Shai Hope also showed his prowess in the last ODI with an excellent unbeaten ton and although he will be miffed at himself for not finishing the job, his form bodes well for the remainder of the series.

Expect the Windies to be in buoyant mood for the remainder of the series.

Shimron Hetmyer has been in explosive form with the bat.

Shimron Hetmyer has been in explosive form with the bat.

SPOTLIGHT REMAINS ON INDIA’S MIDDLE-ORDER AND DHONI

The holes in India’s middle-order was the biggest talking point ahead of the series and it remains so as we head to Pune. While they were not called into action in the first ODI with India’s top-order firing on all cylinders, they were thrust into the spotlight at Vishakapatnam following the early dismissals of India’s openers.

There, Ambati Rayudu gave an excellent account himself at number four but MS Dhoni continued to disappoint with the bat. Rishabh Pant fell early too in his maiden ODI innings with Kohli having to perform both the anchor and the finisher’s roles.

The India skipper will want more from his middle order on Saturday, especially from Dhoni whose waning powers with the bat is becoming a big worry for India in the run-up to the 2019 World Cup.

Pant will be itching to make a big impact.

Pant will be itching to make a big impact.

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