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Tri-series Preview: India-Australia meet in opener

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Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012, 14:50 [IST]
 
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India, Australia clash again on Sunday

Melbourne, Feb 4: Here they come again. Over the past two months, India and Australia have been up against each other and it has been one-way traffic all through barring one game on Friday. So in a fresh format, this time in 50 overs, they come face to face at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.

Also read: Time for India to rework 2008 tri-series magic

The tri-series tournament which also involves Sri Lanka, kicks off on Sunday with the opener between MS Dhoni-led side and home team, led by Michael Clarke.

The lack of energy in the field for India has now been filled by the young brigade. On Friday, for the first time on the Australian tour, we saw a new India, lifted by outstanding fielding. Those efforts culminated in the T20 win, a first on this tour.

That was the key in them getting their first win under their belt. That spark can now propel them to great heights in the tri-nation competition.

After witnessing such a fielding effort at MCG, led by Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni said: "It is always good to be on the winning side, the boys were exception in the field (today), probably the best fielding I have seen. It will be hard to beat this effort."

For India, Sachin Tendulkar will be seen in a 50-over game for the first time since the World Cup final. And yet again fans will be hoping for his 100th international ton.

The tournament format is such that if you lose a couple of games early in the tournament, you have the chance to bounce back. Each team plays each other four times before the top two meet in the best-of-three finals from March 4.

All three teams are former World Champions with India the holders of the 50-over Cup that they captured in Mumbai last year. Sri Lanka, who lost that final on April 2 at the Wankhede Stadium will have a chance to avenge that loss since then they haven't faced India in any format of the game.

Sri Lanka will go into the contest with a new coach and a new captain. Geoff Marsh has been removed and Graham Ford has been handed the responsibility of driving the team forward.

Following the resignation of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene is once again at the helm.

After a brief break, Michael Clarke returns to action. Following his T20 retirement, he was not part of the two T20s with George Bailey leading the side. Veterans Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey too join Clarke for the tournament.

With three evenly matches sides, it is likely to be an action packed cricket over the next five weeks. India will be hoping to close off their tour Down Under by rising above those Test defeats. When they last played a tri-series in 2008, they won the title and they will be aiming for an encore.

Squads

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan.

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ricky Ponting, Peter Forrest, Dan Christian, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Brett Lee, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitch Marsh.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chanaka Welegedera, Dhammika Prasad.

Tri-Series Schedule (All matches to start at 8.50 AM IST unless stated)

Feb 5 - Australia vs India, Melbourne

Feb 8 - India vs Sri Lanka, Perth (9.50 AM IST)

Feb 10 - Australia vs Sri Lanka, Perth (9.50 AM IST)

Feb 12 - Australia vs India, Adelaide

Feb 14 - India vs Sri Lanka, Adelaide

Feb 17 - Australia vs Sri Lanka, Sydney

Feb 19 - Australia vs India, Brisbane

Feb 21 - India vs Sri Lanka, Brisbane

Feb 24 - Australia vs Sri Lanka, Hobart

Feb 26 - Australia vs India, Sydney

Feb 28 - India vs Sri Lanka, Hobart

Mar 2 - Australia vs Sri Lanka, Melbourne

Mar 4 - First final, Brisbane

Mar 6 - Second final, Adelaide

Mar 8 - Third final, Adelaide, (if required) (8.20 AM IST)

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