Thatscricket - News - Cricket: India hopes to break overseas jinx, win series

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Having notched up a comprehensive victory in the second Test to come roaring back into the series, India is now eyeing its chances of a rare series win abroad as it goes into the third and final Test against Sri Lanka from Wednesday.The side that remained the underdog for most of the tour is suddenly brimming with confidence after the seven wicket win in Kandy, that squared the series 1-1, and is ready to go for the kill.It is a coincidence that India last won a series win on foreign soil at the Sinhalese Sports Club, the venue of Wednesdays match, in 1993. It is another coincidence that England, took the same route to carve out a memorable 2-1 victory over Sri Lanka last year.When the Indians walk on to the field on Wednesday, it would not be history but their performance that will count. And they will have to come up with something similar to what they did in Kandy to have any chances of victory here.The Sri Lankans, quick to realise their follies in the second Test, are likely to trade all-rounder Suresh Perera for young left-hander Michael Vandort to strengthen their batting. Probably the best thing to happen to India in the Kandy Test, apart from the victory, was the return to form of captain Saurav Ganguly. India would need another good performance by the duo of Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, whose innings in Kandy were crucial for victory. They form the backbone of Indian batting and they must click for the team to put up a healthy score.Youngsters Hemang Badani and Mohammed Kaif are due for big scores and this is probably their last opportunity to make a mark. When Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman return to the side for the tour of South Africain October, these young players might struggle to find their place in the team.The Indians have relied on a three-pronged pace attack with just Harbhajan Singh as the lone spinner. But, there were indications that an extra spinnermight be included here if there was some help in the pitch for the slow bowlers. That would mean either Sairaj Bahutule or Rahul Sanghvi will get their first match on this tour. The key to Sri Lanka, as usual, would be the performance of Jayasuriya. The captain cracked a brilliant hundred in the first Test at Galle and the team won by 10 wickets. He, however, failed in both the innings at Kandy.The teams (from): India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid, Shiv Sunder Das, Sadagopan Ramesh, Mohammad Kaif, Hemang Badani, Sameer Dighe, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Harvinder Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Rahul Sanghvi, Sairaj Bahutule and Jacob Martin. Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Russel Arnold, Hashan Tillekaratne, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Chaminda Vaas, Suresh Perera, Dilhara Fernando, Ruchira Perera, Duleep Liyanage, Muttiah Muralitharan and Thilan Samaraweera. PTI

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