India seek to keep momentum going against Australia
NEW DELHI: Buoyed by their emphatic victory in the last game, a confident India will seek to keep the momentum going when they go into the third
One-dayer against Australia on Saturday, hoping to exploit a slow and low track.
With the seven-match series tied 1-1, both the teams will be keen to regain the initiative in what promises to be a thrilling floodlit contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
The resounding victory in Nagpur will no doubt serve as a huge confidence booster for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men, who came out with a brilliant all-round display to claw their way back into the series after Australia took the lead.
Barring Sachin Tendulkar, the awesome Indian batting line up has looked solid with most of the top order batsmen being among the runs in the first two matches.
Dhoni himself led from the front with a blistering 124 off 107 balls while Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have laid the foundation with their lusty strokeplay.
While the Indians looked a confident lot, the Aussies have a few problems to sort out, particularly in their bowling department with pace spearhead Brett Lee, who sat out of the Nagpur tie because of an elbow injury, was ruled out of the game.
The spate of injuries to some of their key players has weakened the World Champions to some extent and a depleted bowling attack have only compounded their misery.
Wicket-keeper bastman Tim Paine was the latest to join the casualty list with a broken finger which has ruled him out of the entire series. Paine has been replaced by rookie Graham Manou, who is sure to make his ODI debut on Saturday.
Despite winning the first match at Vadodara by a narrow margin, the Aussies never really looked in command and Ricky Ponting would be keen to plug the loopholes before it is too late.
“It will be like starting from the scratch in Delhi. Hopefully, we will improve in the areas where we did not do well and we will bounce back,” Ponting said.
“Ever since Glenn McGrath has moved out, the death overs have been a problem,” he said.
His counterpart Dhoni would be delighted with the performance of his team, especially the bowlers who went for a ride in the series opener.
Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar looked menacing upfront with the new ball, while Ravindra Jadeja has been a sensation in the spin department and shared the responsibility ably with Harbhajan Singh, who is going through a rough patch.
“All the bowlers did well. Ashish Nehra is at his usual impressive form, Ishant Sharma is continuing with his good show and good thing is Praveen Kumar has come up good. Ravindra Jadeja came in late but got three crucial wickets in the last game,” Dhoni said.
To add to that, the options in the slow bowling department would be an advantage for the Indians in the low and slow Kotla strip.
The first two matches of the series have been high-scoring contests but tomorrow’s game could turn out to be a rather low-scoring affair with the Kotla pitch not very conducive for strokeplay.
The recent Champions League matches have shown that scoring freely would be a tough proposition although the curator has tried his best to prepare the track for the match.
Dew will be another important factor and both the captains will have that in mind when they go out for the toss.
The Teams (from):
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Sudeep Tyagi, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (Captain), Michael Hussey, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Hauritz, Jon Holland, Ben Hilfenhaus, Shaun Marsh, Graham Manou, Peter Siddle, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Brett Lee and Cameron White.
Source : Times of India