India head into the fifth and final match of the ongoing ODI series against the West Indies as favourites, considering the way in which they bounced back in Mumbai after a minor setback in Pune.
Jason Holder's visiting team had come up with some spirited performances as they clinched a tie in Visakhapatnam before beating India by a comfortable margin of 43 runs in Pune.
The series decider, which will be played at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, is not a dead-rubber and India know they can't afford to take the West Indies lightly even after the thumping win in Mumbai.
India are expected to go in with an unchanged XI but they might consider playing Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Ravindra Jadeja, who was brought back for the fourth ODI to provide batting depth.
In the presence of handy all-rounders Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Men in Blue can afford to give another chance to the leg-spinner in place of the slow-bowling all-rounder.
Ambati Rayudu's performances in the ongoing series, especially the century in Mumbai, should give the team management a lot of confidence. He, as vice-captain Rohit Sharma insisted, has all but sealed the No. 4 spot for the World Cup. On the other hand, the likes of KL Rahul and Manish Pandey are likely to end the series without even getting a game.
Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed has also grabbed his opportunities with both hands. The 20-year-old impressed in Mumbai with figures of 3/13 as he was able to trouble the West Indies batsmen by swinging the ball both ways.
On the other hand, the West Indies may bring back left-arm pacer Obed McCoy, who was impressive in their win in Pune, in place of Keemo Paul, who was taken to the cleaners in Mumbai.
Marlon Samuels hasn't done much with the bat in the ongoing series but the veteran campaigners might just get the nod, considering the wicket-taking abilities he has showcased.
Team news - Probable playing XIs
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah.
West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Kieran Powell, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shai Hope (wk), Marlon Samuels, Rovman Powell, Fabian Allen, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Obed McCoy.
Pitch and conditions
The Greenfield International Stadium has hosted only one international match — a T20I between India and New Zealand last year. In the rain-hit match that was reduced to eight overs a side, there was some grip and turn for the spinners.
Nonetheless, the Thiruvananthapuram venue is expected to offer assistance to batsmen, Jayesh Geoge, former Kerala Cricket Association secretary has told the Times of India.
Light thundershowers are expected in the evening but its unlikely to influence the outcome of the match, according to the news daily.