Young turks take on mighty Lankans

Published: Monday, February 4, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Brisbane: With the young batsmen failing to deliver the goods in the first two matches, India will have to prove their mettle before it's too late as they take on an experienced Lankan side in the second match of the Commonwealth Bank series here on Tuesday.

It would be a huge task for young players, many of who have joined the team for the T20 and tri-series, to adapt to the hostile conditions quickly and contribute to the team.

India had opted to leave out the seniors like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid for the tri-series keeping the future in mind but the move has not really paid dividends yet with the youngsters failing to live up to the expectations.

The visitors were bundled out for a paltry 74 in the Twenty20 game against Australia in Melbourne and their batting performance left much to be desired in the first match of the tri-series against the hosts before the rains came down.

The batting, however, will get a boost with Yuvraj Singh, who sat out of the first two games because of a knee injury, expected to come back into the team for the day-night encounter.

Manoj Tiwari will most probably sit out if Yuvraj is fit enough to take his place in the playing eleven.

Albeit the strength of India's batting line-up does not seem to be ideal right now, fast bowling department headed by Alrounder Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth has the wherewithal to challenge any batting line-up in the world. Indian supporters have big expectations on rookie Ishant Sharma as well.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene says no team is a favourite yet because each will have to play consistent cricket through the month to make the best-of-the-three finals in early March.

"It's all on form, how you adapt to the conditions. Australia can be favourites but the same applies to them. It's going to be a tough, interesting series," Jayawardene said a day before his team begins the second leg of their Australian tour, losing the Test series 2-0 in the first part late last year.

Jayawardene said they had played against most of the batsmen, except Manoj Tiwary, "so we have a fairly good idea. Even if it's a young side they have experience too and have played some good cricket recently".

He was also impressed by the bowlers, especially Ishant Sharma, whom he thought to be an "interesting prospect". But he felt Zaheer Khan's experience would have suited the prevailing conditions in Australia. Having said that, he gave the Indian bowlers credit for having "put a lot of pressure on the Australians during the Test series".

Likely teams:

India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan , Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan


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