India to pray for pride in Mumbai ODI

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Mumbai: India will try to prove a point to the Australians and their fans that they can still compete against the World champions when they take on the visitors in the day-night seventh and last one-dayer, which will be played at the Wankhede stadium here tomorrow.

With Australia already having proved their superiority over the Indians having already won the seven match series 4-1 for the Future Cup, the last one-day international has lost the competitive zing as India would try and redeem themselves and get back some confidence, which has been severely dented by the Australians.

India, though the series has been lost will have a lot of play for as a win here tomorrow would bring back some morale for the home series against Pakistan beginning at the end of this month and the tour down under in December.

This series had been hyped up as a battle between the two World champions - Australia are the ODI World Cup winners and India the Twenty20 kings- but the seven-match series turned out to be thoroughly one-sided with Ricky Ponting's team emerging head and shoulders above the hosts.

The Indians would also been hoping to put up a good show at this stadium which would be last here in its present form. The stadium is going to be demolished and a new modern stadium is to be built with the 2011 World Cup scheduled to be played at this venue.

The Indians would need to improve in all departments of the game and would have to take some harsh decisions with the series already in Australia's bag. The major headache for the Indians would be the form of Rahul Dravid and though captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has stated that Dravid's form is not that much of a worry and the class batsman that he is, he would come good very soon. However, with youngster like Rohit Sharma and S Badrinath waiting in the wings the pressure must be building up on India's most technically accomplished batsman.

India would also have to improve their bowling at the death, as this is where most of the matches have been lost. The hosts have been able to restrict the Aussies in the middle overs and have also got the breakthroughs at the top of the order. But all this has been thrown away by the bowlers at the death with one of the Australian batsmen standing up on each occasion to bail their side out.

The Indians have also tried the Australian way of aggression with verbal duels but unlike the men from down under they have not been able to back it up with solid performance. The hosts have not been able to walk the talk so to say.

India has not been up to the mark in either batting, bowling or fielding. The team has realised during the course of this series that, there is a huge difference between the bang-bang Twenty20 version and 50-50 cricket, which requires more planning and strategising.

Amidst the ruins, Tendulkar has been the saving grace for India.

At a time when people are debating the ageing maestro's place in the shorter version of the game, he has once again replied with his bat and emerged with the best aggregate for the home side. He along with Sourav Ganguly have silenced all critics about the need for the seniors to leave the field gracefully and instead have shown that it is they who have been able to counter the Australians to a certain extent rather than the new blood.

The Indian bowlers, who have done well recently in England, in South Africa and in patches in this series, can come into play only if the batsmen give them a good enough total to bowl with. Although Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan (seven) are the top wicket-takers among the Indians, their scalps have come at a cost.

The Australians, on the other hand are looking to end this series with another comprehensive win and will be playing the best 11 possible. There are no half measures in this Australian side and that is why they have been on top of the cricket world for so long. The only worrying factor is opener Matthew Hayden, who has still not recovered from the hip injury which he picked up during the fifth one-dayer at Vadodara. Hayden who missed the sixth one-dayer at Nagpur is still not 100 per cent fit and a decision on his fitness will be taken later today.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Dinesh Karthick, S Badrinath, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Rohit Sharma, Murali Kartik, Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain/wicketkeeper), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Adam Voges, Shane Watson.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Ameesh Saheba (India) Third umpire: G.A. Pratapkumar (India) Match referee: Chris Broad (England)


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