Australia win toss, elect to bat against India

Published: Friday, September 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Australian captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and decided to bat first against India in the league match of DLF Cup tri-series in Kuala Lumpur. This match is very crucial for both teams as they are looking to book a place in the final against West Indies.

India kept themselves in the hunt with an unlikely 16-run win over West Indies after being bowled out for 163.

"It's a really big game for both teams. Both should have the conditions down pat and their skills at a better level than we did at the start", Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said.

"Any Australian team that takes the field wants to win every game they play in. We've trained well in the last few days and expect to play good cricket - as far as we're concerned everything is falling into place."

Despite the importance of the match, Australia will continue the rotation policy, which has seen them give 18 different players a taste of competitive action ahead of next month's ICC Champions Trophy in India.

But they will undoubtedly be stronger for the return of Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn and Brad Hogg in place of Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Shane Watson and Dan Cullen. The chopping and changing has not gone down well with some players.

"It's quite difficult when there are 18 players on tour, there's no chance to get into a rhythm. "I had to wait two games to get out there, but I played the third and was actually surprised by how well the ball came out," said fast bowler Brett Lee.

But Ponting insisted: "There's been lot of positives that have come from our experiments so far. Mitchell Johnson was a find for us and it is good to look at guys in different positions." Australia will feel confident as they had India 35-5 in last week's meeting before the rest of the game was washed out by the weather.

But Indian skipper Rahul Dravid has urged his batsmen to "put their hands up and be counted" after some undistinguished efforts so far. We have put in a lot of work in the nets on our batting. (Now) We have to go out and perform," he said.

Exempt from criticism, however, is Sachin Tendulkar, whose 65 on Wednesday was every bit as important as his 141, also against West Indies, earlier in the tournament. India have yet to name their XI but could be tempted to recall all-rounder Irfan Pathan to add to the depth of their batting, perhaps at the expense of RP Singh.

"Australia are obviously a very good team. It will be a good contest and irrespective of the result, I hope we play well," Dravid added.

Australia: R Ponting, M Hayden, S Katich, D Martyn, A Symonds, M Hussey, B Haddin, B Hogg, B Lee, S Clark, G McGrath. India (from): R Dravid, S Tendulkar, V Sehwag, Y Singh, S Raina, M Dhoni, A Agarkar, H Singh, M Patel, S Sreesanth, RP Singh, M Kaif, D Mongia, I Pathan, R Powar

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