2nd ODI: Brittle fielding worries India

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2000, 23:00 [IST]
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Ahmedabad: India will be looking for a much improved performance especially in the field as they take on Zimbabwe in the second of the five One-day match series at the Motera Stadium on Tuesday.India won the first match at Cuttack by three wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series. However, the Indian fielding left a lot to be desired in that match with as many as seven catches going down and that would be the most worrisome department for the Indian think-tank. The Indians, who arrived at the ground on Monday morning, had an elongated session of fielding practice stretching up to more than two hours.

The Zimbabweans are meanwhile trying to bury the past and look ahead as they try and square the series. The inexperience in the Zimbabwean ranks proved to be their undoing in the last match, but they would have learnt from their experience in the first match and try and not repeat the same mistakes again. India have left out S S Das and Nikhil Chopra from the 12 announced for the match. The toss up on Tuesday will be between Reetinder Singh Sodhi and S Sriram.Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly said, ''The wicket looks as if it will take turn, but we do not know what will happen after the pitch dries overnight. Therefore, we will take a look at the wicket tomorrow and decide whether to go in with an fourth seamer in Sodhi or play Sriram who also bowls left arm spinners.'' Ganguly praised the performance of Hemang Badani in the last match saying that he played a match-winning knock.

The important thing in that knock was that after the mix-up with Rahul Dravid, Badani took upon him the responsibility to see India through. ''He played well under pressure and that was the important thing,'' Ganguly said.Ganguly however said that the fielding was a shame in the last match. ''I was surprised that after dropping so many catches we still won.'' Meanwhile, Ganguly's counterpart Heath Streak said that, ''We had a chance in the last game but unfortunately let it slip due to the inexperience of out team. For our guys this is a good learning experience and they will learn with time.''Streak thought the wicket would be a good batting strip.

We will try and get a good total on the board and then try to put pressure on the Indian bastmen. ''If we can get Sachin and Ganguly out early then we will be able to put pressure on their middle order which is not that experienced.''He also said, ''We have always had close games with India and we will be going into the match with the intention of beating them." Streak also sounded a note of caution saying that their bowling is not suited to the Indian conditions. "We have a lot of seam and swing bowlers,'' he added.On the composition of the team, Streak said, ''We have had a look at the wicket and we will decide the final 11 only on the day of the match.'' Meanwhile, Zimbabwe who were having injury scares to Travis Friend and Henry Olonga will go into the game in full strength with all their players fit.

The teams (from): India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Hemang Badani, Vijay Dahiya, Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Reetinder Singh Sodhi and S Sriram. Reserves: S S Das and Nikhil Chopra.

Zimbabwe: Heath Streak (captain), Alistair Campbell, GrantFlower, Andy Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Gavin Rennie, Guy Whittall,Dirk Viljeon, Brian Murphy, Trevor Madondo, Brain Strang, TravisFriend, Henry Olonga and M Nakala.

Umpires: S Venkatraghavan and K Hariharan.
Third Umpire: S Bandekar.
Reserve Umpire: V Gupte.
Match Observer: Dr D P Bhargava.
Match referee: Barry Jarman (Australia).UNI

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