Preview: Dhoni's absence gives Sri Lanka the edge

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Published: Monday, February 20, 2012, 14:59 [IST]
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Captain Dhoni's absence might hurt India

Brisbane, Feb 20: India will be without captain MS Dhoni for Tuesday's crucial tri-series match against Sri Lanka here. Dhoni was banned for one ODI for "Minor Over Rate Offence." The absence of Dhoni gives the Sri Lankans slight edge over their Asian neighbours.

[Tri-series Points Table]

Dhoni has been India's second best batsman in the series with 191 runs in five games. He has been vital in team's chases. Without his services, India will have an uphill task.

Just three points separate the two sides. India are second in the points table with 10 while Sri Lanka have seven. However, India have played one extra game in five as against Sri Lanka's four. India have two more games after Tuesday's clash. Australia are on top with 14 points. In all, each team plays eight games before the top two face off in the best of three finals from March 4.

Virender Sehwag, who missed two games due to back spasms, will return to lead the side. Reserve wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel will do duty behind the stumps.

Sachin Tendulkar is doubtful for Tuesday's game after he was hit on the helmet by a Brett Lee bouncer during the team's 110-run loss at the Gabba on Sunday. Tendulkar was advised to undergo a precautionary MRI scan. The veteran batsman was also hit on his shin off an edge from Peter Forrest's bat while fielding in slips. For 25 overs of Australian innings, Tendulkar was off the field. He showed discomfort while running during his brief stay as an opener.

Batting worries have returned for India with their youngsters misfiring. Gautam Gambhir is the leading scorer for India with 193 with a couple of nineties.

Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma need to come up with big runs if India aim to qualify for the finals. Raina has 102 runs from five games while Rohit has 79 in same number of innings.

Virat Kohli is little better with 153 runs (five games). Sehwag too is searching for runs with just thirty in two matches.

India went in with four fast bowlers against Australia and left out off-spinner Ravichandran Aswhin. Umesh Yadav was impressive with great speeds of over 150kmph. Vinay Kumar has been in form barring the last few overs against Australia in the previous game. And Zaheer Khan's experience is always handy in any format.

Ashwin might return at the expense of Irfan Pathan or it could also be Umesh.

These two teams were involved in a thrilling tie at the Adelaide Oval last Tuesday. The man who was responsible for such an exciting match - Dhoni, will be missing this time.

Sri Lanka too have their share of problems with batting. However, captain Mahela Jayawardene found form in the last outing against Australia where they won with a bonus point.

Kumar Sangakkara completed 10,000 runs during that game and he needs to come good for the Islanders. The talented Dinesh Chandimal, with 188 runs in four games, will be the one to watch out for. Their bowling will depend heavily on Lasith Malinga.


India: Virender Sehwag (captain), 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.

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.

Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Paul Reiffel (Australia)

Third Umpire: Steve Davis (Australia)

Match Referee: Chris Broad (England)

Match starts at 8.50 AM IST

For ball by ball commentary, live updates and reports, visit www.thatscricket.com


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