South Asia’s bitter rivals Pakistan and India are meeting again on the cricket ground, marking a gradual thaw in their decades-old rivalry. The first bilateral series between India and Pakistan since November 2007, comprising two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals, began on December 25, with Pakistan winning the first T20 by five wickets in a close encounter but India levelled the series with an 11-run win.
Pakistan sealed the series after winning the first ODI in Chennai by six wickets and recording a comprehensive 85-run win at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Pakistan and India face-off in the third ODI today at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.
Stick around as Dawn.com brings all the action analysis from the match.
Readers are invited to be share their input and analysis, set the field, live commentate, share pictures, predict the outcome of the match. Have your say as Pakistan takes on India in what promises to be a cracking showdown.
INDIA WIN BY 10 RUNS
What an over! Hafeez hits a couple of boundaries to keep Pakistan alive, Ishant Sharma bowls a no ball for height and misses the easiest of run outs and Hafeez hits the following delivery to Yuvraj at short mid on! India win by 10 runs and ensure there is no clean sweep for Pakistan. What a match!
Hafeez comes out to play a chip over short leg but Sharma bowls a wide.
An over from Sharma and then from Shami. Hafeez to face. Pakistan need 23 runs. No way but to hit their way to the end. Hafeez hits straight to mid off and there's a misfiled but Hafeez doesn't run to retain the strike.
Pakistan do what only they can. Junaid Khan comes in, pushes it forward and Suresh Raina dives to make the save but Junaid is already half-way down the pitch to be run out with a great direct hit from Raina. Pakistan need 23 from 14 balls
Ajmal goes! The pressure results in Shami Ahmed's first wicket in international cricket as Ajmal tries to glide the ball down to third man but is caught behind.
Ajmal is hit in the chest and runs away for a bye. Pakistan in quite a bit of trouble here now...
WICKET! Gul hoicks it towards long on in his usual style but is caught out by Jadeja. India are getting more and more confident as the match nears its end. Saeed Ajmal in now. He's shone with the ball for Pakistan but can he do it with the bat?
Ishant Sharma comes on to bowl the fourth last over. Blocked straight back to the bowler by Gul. The run rate has gone over six for the first time.
Jadeja comes on to bowl his last over and he's maintain the pressure by not allowing the batsmen to score. Three dot deliveries followed by a leg bye. Shami Ahmed has two overs left, as does Ishant Sharma. Jadeja ends with 10-19-1.
Hafeez hits straight towards point so no run from the first delivery but a wide delivery next up is placed well for a couple. The crowd is staying until the end for this one, unlike the first two ODIs where the one-sided games resulted in empty seats towards the end. Four dot balls from Shami and Hafeez is back under pressure. 143-6
Three singles from Ashwin's last over . A big appeal for lbw but it hits Gul on the thigh pad. 27 required now...
Gul releases some pressure by hitting a four towards square after three dot deliveries in Shami's over. A bouncer to end the over. Gul backs out but Shami follows to hit him on the helmet. Gul goes down but is back up on a spring. 30 required from 42 balls. Four wickets in hand.
Hafeez plays a shot towards mid wicket right into Rahane's hands who fumbles with the ball and drops it. Pakistan 134 for 6.
Umar Gul chips Shami Ahmed's delivery past long off for a four. Pakistan need 38 runs with 54 balls remaning.
And Jadeja gets his first. Umar Akmal gone for 25 - comes out to play and is stumped by Dhoni. Pakistan making things difficult for themselves. Umar Gul comes in and does not score any off the remaining over. Pakistan 125 for the loss of six wickets.
A single from Hafeez towards fine leg is the only run scored in Ishant Sharma's over. Getting a bit tense as the difference between runs required and balls remaining gets smaller.
Jadeja hops around appealing, in search for his first wicket but it is not to be. Umar Akmal plays a risky shot over the fielders at midwicket but it lands safely and the batsmen run two. 123-5 off 38.
The over ends with Pakistan requiring 48 runs from 78 deliveries. Umar Akmal on 23 and Hafeez on 1.
Ishant Sharma replaces Ashwin, who has two overs left. Malik pushes one through the off side for a four but is given out lbw two deliveries later. The ball came in quite a bit but Bowden was convinced. Hafeez is forced to come out to bat.
Pakistan take the batting powerplay but will try not to take any risks. Some good inner-circle fielding by India but Malik finally gets a run by lifting one over the covers for a single in Jadeja's seventh over.
Misbah scored 39 vital runs off 82 deliveries, including four fours. Ashwin now bowls to Shoaib Malik. No Hafeez yet. A wicket maiden for Ashwin. Pakistan need 55 from 15 overs.
Misbah goes! Ashwin gets Misbah after troubling him here and there on a few occassions. The ploy that had gifted a couple of four wides to Pakistan had finally resulted in a wicket for India. Misbah gives an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane at leg slip.
Misbah is beaten on the first delivery but gets a couple off delivery worked towards deep square leg, which according to sports journalist Osman Samiuddin is his favoured run-scoring area. The 50-run partnership is up between these two. 113-3.
Ashwin gifts a full-toss to Umar Akmal first up and it is dispatched through the covers. The bowler then makes a comeback with an lbw appeal but it was pitched outside leg and was missing leg. Umar Akmal gets the sweep right on the fourth delivery and it reaches the boundary. Pakistan get closer to the target...
A maiden over from Jadeja, with a half-hearted appeal for lbw squeezed in the middle. Misbah, however, had the bat down in time before the ball could hit the pads.
The third single of the over brings up Pakistan's 100. So 68 needed from 114. Umar Akmal moves on to 14 and Misbah to 36.
Another single-off-the-over over from Jadeja.
A single off the over. 72 required from 126. How's this Laurent Blanc sighting to make things interesting in the dull middle overs?
Fidgety Umar Akmal plays a lovely cover drive for his first boundary of the innings. Pakistan are 95-3 from 28.
Three runs from the 27th over, including a wide. Not much to report.
Umar Akmal doesn't look all too comfortable in the middle but he's hanging in there with his captain. A single each for both and Pakistan slowly move towards the target.
Nine runs come off Ashwin's third over, including four wides. 85-3 after 25.
Ravindra Jadeja replaces Ishant Sharma in the 24th over. Umar Akmal and Misbah are happy with a few singles in each over as they try to take Pakistan home. The last delivery beats Umar Akmal but misses the edge. Or it doesn't? Seems like MS Dhoni has dropped one....
Ashwin bowls his second over. A confusion between the two batsmen on the first delivery but Umar Akmal makes it back in time. The penultimate delivery is worked away through the covers for a single. Another single for Misbah to end the over.
Misbah works the first delivery of Sharma's over for a boundary at square leg. Pakistan's target is under 100 now. A thick edge falls short of first slip as Pakistan end the 22nd over on 72-3.
Jamshed guides his shot off Ashwin past mid wicket for a four before being given out lbw at 34 - the first time in this series without a century. Umar Akmal is in next and Ashwin bowls a wide which goes on for a four. Pakistan 68-3 after 21 overs.
Misbah takes a single off Ishant Sharma. 30 overs left - Pakistan 56 for the loss of two wickets.
Jamshed hits a four, plays one off Kumar past extra cover for the only runs from the over. Pakistan need 113 from 185 balls to whitewash India.
Sharma maintains his good economy rate as he beats both batsmen. Pakistan get to 50 with a couple of singles. 51-2 after 17.
Kumar is bowling his ninth over now! Doesn't happen much with fast bowlers but Dhoni is persisting with his best bowler to have a chance of keeping Pakistan at bay. A few more blocks from the middle of Misbah's bat and a few more leaves. Misbah then plays a beautfil cover drive: down on one knee, great follow through and Pakistan move to 48-2.
Sharma feeds Misbah on the pads and the Pakistan captain helps himself to his second four. Jamshed seems happy dealing in singles and the odd boundary. Jamshed is beaten by a delivery coming in, between his bat and the wickets and keeping low. He ends the over with a single.
Kumar is in to bowl his eighth straight over. Dhoni wants to persist with his only wicket-taking bowler in this match. Jamshed works the first delivery on the leg side for a couple as Shami Ahmed makes a sprinting, left-foot stop at the boundary. A single to Jamshed and Misbah each. Jamshed comes back on strike to hit a four off the last delivery. A thick edge takes the ball to the third-man boundary. Pakistan 37-2 in 15.
A push towards deep point results in a single from the first delivery. Ishant Sharma beats Misbah twice before the Pakistan captain plays one straight to point and the last ball is blocked. 29-2.
After getting an inside edge on the first delivery, Misbah middles the second one perfectly for a four down to the long off boundary. No runs off the remainig deliveries and Pakistan end the 13th over at 28-2.
Ishant Sharma replaces Shami in the 12th over. A run for Jamshed on the second delivery and Misbah punches one through point for a single. Pakistan trudge along. 144 short of the target now, with 38 overs left.
Misbah leaves the first couple of deliveries from Kumar: one comes in and the next moves away. He pushes at the third one but is lucky not to edge it. Only two deliveries resulted in bat on ball and none in runs. Another maiden for the impressive Kumar. 22-2 in 11.
Misbah takes a single to get off strike. Jamshed pulls another short delivery from Shami for his second four and releases some pressure. Seven runs from the over, the most expensive of the Pakistani innings so far.
The Indian slip cordon goes up in unison as Suresh Raina takes a bumped catch from Misbah on the first delivery. An inside edge towards fine leg results in the only run from the ninth over.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq comes out to bat ahead of Mohammad Hafeez, who is said to be available for batting if need be but Pakistan are trying to keep him away from the action to let the his left hand heal. Jamshed looks a little uncomfortable against Shami, who is now bowling his fourth over. 14-2 in 8.
GONE! Kumar gets his second as Younis Khan hits one back on the stumps. Pakistan in some trouble here with two wickets down for 14 runs. The economical bowling has resulted in some pressure for Pakistan. Wicket maiden for Kumar.
First boundary for Pakistan as Jamshed pulls a short delivery from Shami. The Indian fielders are sprinting all around but this was way out of the reach of fine leg. The batsmen are careful and they can afford it with the run-rate cushion.
Kumar continues to keep Pakistan pegged back. A single for Younis the only run in the over. Paksitan 9-1 in five.
Jamshed looks cautious in the opening overs. A couple of good shots on both sides of the ground result in no runs as the Indian fielders leap towards the ball. Another maiden from Shami Ahmed.
Younis Khan walks out to bat one-down, after Azhar Ali was dropped in favour of Umar Akmal. The man for the occassion, if there was any, opens his account with a four through covers. Pakistan 8-1 in three overs.
OUT! Kumar gets Kamran! The Pakistan wicketkeeper has struggled with the bat on this tour and he is gone lbw against the impressive young pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The ball hit Kamran on his thigh pads but Billy Bowden was convinced it was low enough to hit the stumps. Kamran looked unhappy....with the decision and perhaps with his unimpressive run with the bat.
So 22-year-old Shami Ahmed from Bengal bowls his first over in international cricket. He keeps pitching the ball away from the left-handed Jamshed for a maiden over. Good start for the right-arm pacer.
It's the best batsman of the series Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal who will open the innings for Pakistan as the visitors give some rest to Mohammad Hafeez, who got hit hard on his hand as he tried to block a ferocious strike from MS Dhoni. Bhuvneshwar Kumar opens the bowling for India. Two shots on the leg side from Jamshed bring up three runs in the first over for Pakistan. It's 3-0.
So the Pakistani openers are out on the pitch to get the chase underway. Pakistan have to chase at 3.36 runs per over.
Ajmal's last over is underway with a six over long-on from Jadeja. The all-rounder attempts a similar shot three balls later, only to be caught out by Umar Akmal in the deep. Ajmal gets his fifth! These are Ajmal's best figures in ODI cricket. Ten overs, five wickets, 24 runs. What a player!
This also means that Pakistan have been set a target of 168 to complete their first ODI series clean sweep in India.
Speaking after the innings, Ajmal lauds the opening bowlers to get Pakistan a good start and for the spinners to come on and build on the advantage. When he's asked about his wicketless performance in the second T20 and first ODI, he quips: "Yeaaaah it's cricket. Some days good, some days bad."
We'll be back with Pakistan's chase in the final challenge of what has been a historic series..
Junaid Khan's first delivery is hit back by Jadeja, only for the bowler to deflect it away for a single. Shami Ahmed manages to keep his wicket intact despite a few close calls. India 161-9 in 43.
Sharma hits Saeed Ajmal for a four over mid-off on the first ball but the #spinking makes it even by taking a return catch off the last delivery. Debutant Shami Ahmed walks out to brave the cold and the Pakistan attack. Not the perfect start to his international career...
The impressive Junaid Khan is back for his second spell. A couple of yorkers and a couple of doubles for Jadeja, a muted appeal...is what the 41st over comprised.
Single of Ajmal's over brings up India's 150. Sharma brings his bat down in time to keep the dangerous Ajmal from taking his fourth wicket. Pakistan will be happy with India's scoring rate in the powerplay overs. India have 10 overs left to put up a defendable total but have only Kumar, Sharma and debutant pacer Shami Ahmed to rely on....as batsmen.
Jadeja hits Gul down the ground for a big six! Some respite for India in the powerplay overs. Gul then makes a comeback to bowl a couple of yorkers to Ishant Sharma. 149-8 in 39.
Kumar is gone! Ajmal picks his third wicket as the Indian pacer looks to work the ball away towards leg and is stuck on his pads. Billy Bowden's crooked finger goes up for India's eighth wicket. Ishant Sharma is the next batsman. 141-8 in 38. India may well be found short of finishing their 50 overs.
Kumar is struck on the pads by Gul but the umpire thinks it's not hitting the stumps. Oh and missed opportunity! Kumar edges Gul but a mix-up between 'keeper Kamran Akmal and first-slip Younis Khan results, not only in a missed opportunity, but five runs in penalty as the ball went on to hit the 'keeper's helmet. Lucky runs for India. 139-7 in 37
Ajmal is back to hound India. He is into his sixth over as Bhuvneshwar Kumar comes out to the wicket. India only manage two runs from the over. 133-7 in 36.
And he's gone! Gul gets the most important wicket of the Indian innings. MS Dhoni is gone attempting to work the ball over point but Umar Akmal takes an easy catch as Pakistan are into the Indian tail. 131-7 in 36
India take the batting powerplay in the 35th over. Gul feeds Dhoni on the legs and it's whipped away for a four through short fine-leg.
Hafeez comes in to bowl his last over. The off-spinner has bowled his 10 overs without a break and apart from the four sixes (three from Dhoni, one from Raina), he has managed to squeeze 10 overs out of the Indian innings without much damage. He was also responsible for removing the dangerous-looking Yuvraj. He will now need to make sure his left hand is okay for him to open the innings. India 127-6 in 34.
Umar Gul is brought back into the attack to replace Ajmal, who bowled yet another impressive spell of five overs, giving away just seven runs and taking two wickets. What a bowler. Gul, meanwhile has not done so bad himself as he gets one to move away from Dhoni's bat. Just two singles to keep India on 125-6.
Hafeez continues with the bowling after receiving treatment, which is a good sign for Pakistan. India are 123-6 after 32 overs.
Kamran Akmal and Hafeez jump up in unison to appeal for a caught behind off Dhoni but umpire Billy Bowden signals a wide. Looked to have brushed past the thigh pad. Dhoni blasts the next delivery straight down the wicket and Hafeez sticks out his left hand and looks in pain. The physio is out to have a look.
Ajmal gives a single in his fifth over. Looks like Jadeja may have edged the penultimate delivery. India 119-6
Hafeez's first ball is hit on the on side again by Dhoni for his third six. The Indian captain doesn't have much choice as he keeps running out of partners at the other end. So the 30th over ends with India 118-6
No hat-trick for Ajmal as Ravindra Jadeja keeps it down.
Another one for Saeed Ajmal! Ravinchandran walks in to replace Raina, only to be replaced himself. Ajmal bowls a beauty first up and Ashwin is struck plumb in front of the wickets. Ajmal on a hat-trick...
Ajmal strikes! Raina is outdone by a straight delivery from the spin king and he's given out leg before wicket. Raina seemed unhappy with the decision by there seemed to be no bat involved before the ball hit the pads and DRS or not, it looked destined for the middle and off stumps.
Dhoni is not staying quiet anymore. He bludgeons Hafeez for two consecutive sixes on the leg side to bring up India's hundred! Comes down the pitch to put off Hafeez, who had been restricting India's run-rate until now. Dhoni on 21 now and India 111-4 in 28.
Raina moves into the 30s with a single towards point on the second delivery of Ajmal's third over. Dhoni is unable to get any runs off it.
Dhoni doesn't look like attacking Hafeez as the Pakistan T20 captain rushes through his over quickly. A Raina single was the only run India managed from this 26th over.
Three runs, including a leg-side wide, come from the Ajmal over and India are half-way through their innings. Pakistan are keeping the pressure on with the brilliant spin duo.
Dhoni hops down to Hafeez's second delivery but the bowler adjusts his line to keep the Indian batsman from hitting a big shot. Pakistan nearly get their fifth wicket as Raina pops one back to Hafeez but it falls short of the both the bowler and Younis Khan, who dived in from short mid-on. Raina survives. 92-4 in 24
Saeed Ajmal comes into the attack to replace Gul after Hafeez's quick and economical over. The Indian pair look comfortable taking singles in these middle overs as they repair the damage caused by Pakistan's quicks. 90-4 after 23
Raina carves out a boundary from Gul's fifth delivery, which was short and at a good height for the left-hander. The two batsmen also ran five singles to give India a good over.
Raina jumps out of the crease to hit Hafeez for a six at long-on! First six of the match! Eight runs from the 20th over take India to 75.
Gul finishes another economical over as Raina settles for a single on the leg side off the fifth delivery and Dhoni does the same on the last. India's scoring has been pegged back. 67-4 in 19.
Hafeez keeps it straight to MS Dhoni in his second over and the Indian captain takes a single from the second last delivery to get off the mark. The solitary run keeps India at 64-4 in 18.
Umar Gul bowls better after an expensive first over. Raina looks to evade risks by playing four dot balls. He then hits a rising delivery towards point but Umar Akmal is there to ensure no runs are taken. It's a maiden over by Gul.
Mohammad Hafeez replaces Junaid Khan and displaces Yuvraj Singh's off stump! Pitches in middle and turns enough to befuddle the dangerous-looking Yuvraj. India are 64-4 in 16 overs.
Junaid Khan appeals twice for an lbw but it is too high both times. India 42 for the loss of three wickets after 12 overs.
Junaid Khan gets his first and Kohli is the victim, caught at second slip by Younis Khan with a low catch. India 37 for three in nine overs.
Irfan gets Gambhir with a bouncer who plays it right into the hands of Umar Akmal at point. Yuvraj Singh comes in and gets off to a good start with two boundaries off Irfan. India 37 runs after losing both their openers after nine overs.
Umar Gul makes another great save. He dives to stop the ball racing towards the boundary and throws it directly towards the stumps, missing it by just a few inches just as Gambhir makes his ground. India 29 for one after eight.
Gambhir and Rahane both score boundaries off Irfan with Junaid Khan keeping it to three runs in his over. Next, Rahane is caught behind the stumps off Irfan. Rahane tries to play it off the front foot but it takes an outside edge and goes towards Kamran Akmal who catches it. Kohli comes on and hits a four off the first ball he faces. India 23 with one down after five overs.
Junaid Khan takes the second over. Huge appeal on the first ball but it hit Gambhir's pads after an inside edge. The second delivery sees Umar Gul dive to prevent a boundary followed by two leg byes. India 5 for no loss.
Mohammad Irfan gets things started for Pakistan. Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir are the openers and India score one off the first over.
MS Dhoni is fit to play after doubts that he might be left out due to a back problem. The players come out to warm up, most of them with their hands in their pockets - the temperature in Delhi right now is 6 degrees.
India won the toss and elected to bat first. MS Dhoni's side made two changes; leaving Virender Sehwag and Ashok Dinda out and giving a debut to Shami Ahmed and bringing in Ajinkya Rahane.
Pakistan made one change from the last ODI, bringing in Umar Akmal for Azhar Ali.
India: G Gambhir, AM Rahane, V Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, SK Raina, RA Jadeja, MS Dhoni*†, R Ashwin, B Kumar, I Sharma, Shami Ahmed
Pakistan: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq*, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal†, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan