India ponder ways to stop Hayden, Symonds

Published: Saturday, October 13, 2007, 15:52 [IST]
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Nagpur: India were grappling for a strategy to rein in hard-hitters Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds who have underlined Australia's dominance in the one-day series so far.

Australia roared back with a vengeance after their only defeat in the seven-match series in Chandigarh last week to thrash the hosts by nine wickets in the fifth match at Vadodara on Wednesday for a 3-1 lead.

Hayden, who seems to thrive in the sub-continent, and Symonds in the middle order have had major bearings on the results with their array of aggressive strokeplay.

The Indian bowling attack, spearheaded by left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan, has mostly looked clueless.

Whatever has been dished out by the bowlers, including spinners, has been dispatched to the fence with alarming regularity by the duo.

While Hayden has accumulated a staggering 290 runs from five innings with a run-a-ball 92 at Chandigarh as his highest, Symonds has 258 from four outings. India, who must win the remaining two matches of the series here on Sunday and in Mumbai on Wednesday if they are to draw level, know the Hayden-Symonds combination is their biggest threat.

"We have to put them under pressure, that is the only way out," a tired-looking Zaheer told reporters here Saturday ahead of the match

"They are class players. With Hayden, his height also helps him," said the paceman who has just five wickets from five matches.

Zaheer denied that the Indian attack lacked variety, packed as it is with three left-arm seamers.

"We have been doing well as a unit. As left-armers, we create difficult angles for right-handers. Our individual style is different and we have variations of our own."

Zaheer said the key was to pick up early wickets and put the batsmen under pressure, something they failed to do in Vadodara as the Aussies overhauled the measly Indian total of 148 in just 25.5 overs.

"In the first two games we were able to get the early breakthroughs. Playing on sub-continent wickets, it doesn't help the bowlers much. Containing the Australian openers is not an easy task."

The Indians have tinkered with the bowling attack to get the desired results by dropping mercurial fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and off-spinner Ramesh Powar, but to no avail.

Sreesanth, who hit the headlines for his run-ins with the Australian players, including Symonds, has not done much on the field to help his team's cause.

Although he took eight wickets in the first three games, he also gave away 180 runs, prompting the Indian team management to replace him with left-arm paceman Rudra Pratap Singh.

Sreesanth clashed repeatedly with the batsmen during the second one-day international in Kochi and even appealed for a run-out against Symonds after the ball was ruled dead, incurring the wrath of local media.

Powar was dropped for left-arm spinner Murali Kartik who has been able to contain the run flow to some extent without taking wickets.

Read more about: australia, symonds, hayden, future cup
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