Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 19 February 2012





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India determined to beat Aussies

The Indian cricketers who are determined to enter the best of three Commonwealth Bank Tri Series finals, will confront Australia in a key-game under lights at the Gabba in Brisbane today (Sunday).

M. S. Dhoni

This game will be a no quarter asked or given game. The Indians with their superb win against Australia in Adelaide will want to give continuity to that win. The Aussies on the contrary will be smarting after that loss and will want to win and stay in the frame.

Another loss and the Aussies could face the ignominy of being bundled out of the tri series finals.

Former skipper Ricky Ponting who deputized for Michael Clarke against Sri Lanka did not have things his own way. His batting form has been horrendous and the cry here is for him to be dropped.

But all great batsmen must at some time visit the run drought zone and it is no different with Ponting. But he could make the game against India to get back into the form that he is famous for.

The Aussie selectors are hoping that Clarke would have recovered from his hamstring strain and be ready to lead. The Aussies felt his absence against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

The problem with the Aussies is that they are experimenting with a rotation policy that has unsettled their plans. If defeats continue to plague them, they will settle to playing the best team not wanting to dive out of the tri series. As for the Indians, they want to make amends somewhat for the thrashing they received in the Test series being white washed 4-nil. India go out favourites with Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is in spanking form to show them how. A big crowd is expected at the Gabba and an interesting game is on the cards.

Ricky Ponting

Australia’s regular captain Michael Clarke has once again been ruled out of Sunday’s game, forcing former skipper Ponting to lead the side again. Mitchell Marsh is also out of action due to a back injury. Australia's Twenty20 captain George Bailey has joined the group to help cover for the loss of Clarke, but an ODI debut for him appears unlikely unless another injury is sustained.

Victorian left-arm spinner Jon Holland remains in the squad, although Xavier Doherty should retain his spot. Ben Hilfenhaus is the one member of the fast-bowling group who is yet to play a match in the series and a couple of lean matches from Mitchell Starc could encourage the selectors to bring in Hilfenhaus for him.

India have won their past three completed ODIs at the Gabba - two against Australia and one against Zimbabwe

“A lot of the things we've done (in the field) have looked sloppy. Usually a sign of a team is how well they're going in the field and if you look at the way we've fielded in the last couple of teams it's been a long way off the mark,” Ponting said on the eve of the crucial game.

But Ponting is going through a lean period in the Tri Series, scoring 2, 1, 6 and 2, slumping from his excellent form in the recent Test series against India.

It is the third time in his career Ponting has had four consecutive single-figure scores in ODIs. None of those lean trots have stretched out to five innings and one hopes he would regain form when it matters the most.


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