हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Team India on the up but concerns remain

Published: Friday, May 11, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Dhaka:The grey areas of a misfiring top order and faltering pace attack will have to be quickly mopped up if India wants to complete the job half done when they meet the resurgent Bangladeshis for the second ODI of the three-game series here on Saturday.

India won the first ODI by five wickets alright, but not so convincing one. Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed character and discipline en route his undefeated 91. Dinesh Kaarthick is rising in stature as a bastman with every passing match. There was a lot of camaraderie on and off the field.

But one cannot forget the hara-kiri created by the top order with some irresponsible and wayward batting. One has to introspect into the hanging shoulders and look-away action of the pacers first up.

One has also to look into some unimaginative field setting while the Bangladeshi rookies were making merry in the park.

Forever an eye sore will be Munaf Patel running alongside the ball all the way to the long on boundary. So much for fielding standards.

Despite Ravi Shastri's tall claims that India will be unstoppable in the series after the hard fought victory in the opening tie, he slipped in the worries of the grey areas.

Talking to the media for the first time on tour, Shastri said, ''At one point I was also nervous about the outcome, but the boys showed tremendous character and fighting spirit.'' ''It will be difficult to defeat us now. Bangladesh better beware,'' he warned.

Shastri, however, admitted that there were grey areas.

''There is work to be done in a couple of areas, but I would rather take a win in this fashion. It was a tough game and I am really proud of the way the guys responded.'' ''But I would look at the positives than dwell on the negatives,'' he quickly added.

But the grey areas are growing just too big to be ignored anymore. It's hard to remember when Gautam Gambhir last played an innings of responsibility. Virender Sehwag has shown he is not out of form completely but even after eight years of international cricket, the rugged jat does not know when to put a stop.

Sehwag could have finished off Bangladesh alone had he been more selective in his strokemaking, but he again flattered to deceive.

Yuvraj Singh looked out of sorts and Rahul Dravid, usually a solid slayer of spin, found the left-armers handful.

Yet, Dhoni and Kaarthick with their limited array of strokes gave the opposition a reality check.

On the top order coming a cropper, Rahul said, ''We need to bat a little well at the top. We should not have lost as many wickets as we did, but I am quite happy and I am sure as the games go on, the top order will fire.''

Asked whether he found the victory satisfying, the skipper said, ''Yes. But there are some areas we can get better at and do better at.''

Now comes the bowling part. Zaheer's seven overs cost him 54 runs, Sreeshanth began well for 14 runs for his five overs, but a cramp left him out of action. Munaf Patel was impressive in bursts.

If the bowler doesn't improve, he is a burden as he is a pathetic fielder and a non-starter with the willow.

Under the circumstances Robin Uthappa and R P Singh could well get a nod as they will add some more sanity to the line up. The Indian team decided to rest today but they would do well to get some fielding practice going.

As for Bangladesh they were so close yet too far. Exuberance and lack of experience did them in even as they came tantalizingly close to proving that the World Cup drubbing was not a fluke.

Skipper Habibul Bashar is to be blamed partly for the debacle as the hosts could have added a few more runs to their kitty had the captain not been a sitting duck.

Mashrafe was sorely missed. The wicket taker for Bangladesh laid low with a lower back injury could well feature in the next tie.

The batting was otherwise unblemished and fielding quite excellent, except the two missed opportunities of run outs that did them in.

However, the over dependence on the spinning trio of Rafique, Razzak and Hasan will have to change if they are to win more matches in future.

Bashar said his side was always in the hunt, but the failure to break the sixth wicket partnership cost them the match.

''We were in the match for most of the time. We were waiting for one wicket when Dhoni and Karthick were batting and we felt that we had a chance right till the end if we got that wicket.

I guess the run out miss cost us dearly,'' said a dejected Bashar.

Asked about squandering some chances, he replied ''I think our excitement of being so close to victory made us miss a few run out chances. We also missed a run out chance of Kaarthick, which could have been vital at that stage.''

The match will be played on the sixth strip which looks much balder and harder than the one on which the first match was played. Toss may as well play a key role on a perfect batting strip and the side winning the toss would do well to bat first

But more importantly Bangladesh is not just out of the game yet. So India can be complacent only at their own peril.

Squads:

India: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthick, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and R Power.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Mohammad Ashraful (vice-capt), Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and Farhad Reza.

Umpires: Ashoka de Silva (SL) and Nadir Shah (Ban)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanamma (SL)

Agencies

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