India geared up for buoyant Australia

Published: Saturday, February 9, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Australia's fear or wariness of India in the ongoing Commonwealth Bank one-day series is justified, said Indian opener Virender Sehwag today, a day before the two teams clash in the fourth match of the tournament at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here.

India could not and should not be taken lightly in the tournament in view of its performance in the recently concluded Test series (2-1 in favour of Australia) and the 1-1 drawn series in 2003-04. He said that of all the teams taking on Australia in the recent past, only India had mounted a credible challenge.

"In Brisbane, it was lack of practice. Now, we've had four days of nets, so we are looking better day by day," Sehwag said, hoping that the MCG pitch would be the same as the one on which Queensland lost to Victoria. On a slow surface.

Sehwag felt the lack of pace would make it easier for the Indian batsmen to hang around.
"If we have to challenge the Australians we need to not lose wickets early on, because the Aussies find it difficult if the wickets don't fall and we should play on that,"he said.

Aussies wary but confident: Speaking for the Australian side, fast bowler Brett Lee said the team would approach its match with India with the necessary firepower and caution.

"Tomorrow is a very big match for us. India are tough opponents," he said. "If we can go there and play some really good cricket, hopefully pick up a win, then the momentum will be sky-high going into Perth against Sri Lanka," Lee said.

Lee agreed with Sehwag that the MCG pitch is likely to be less pacey, but said the Australian bowling attack was varied and consistent enough to deliver in any conditions.

"Collectively as a bowling group we have done well. The guys are chipping in and it's not like one person is putting his hand up," he said.

The Aussie speedster, who snared 5/27 against India in the opening tie of the series, said the Australians would wait until they saw the pitch before choosing their final bowling line-up for their clash with India at the MCG on Sunday.

"I've always enjoyed playing in Melbourne, it's a wonderful place to play cricket, the wicket hasn't really been that quick recently but it's a great one-day wicket," he said.

"As far as our line-up is going to be whether it's pace or spin we don't really know what's going to happen yet, if there is a bit of rain around we'll have to wait and see."

Both teams are likely to field unchanged line-ups though India may pick leg-spinner Piyush Chawla ahead of paceman Sreesanth, who is down with flu.


India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary and Munaf Patel.

Australia:  Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt),  Michael Clarke,  Andrew Symonds,  Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, James Hopes,  Brett Lee,  Brad Hogg,  Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken and Ashley Noffke.


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