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India eye a field day

cricket Updated: Dec 14, 2009 22:39 IST
Bivabasu Kumar
Bivabasu Kumar
Hindustan Times
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India made a brilliant comeback to level the two-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, but on the eve of their five-match ODI series, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had plenty to discuss with his teammates.

It is not in Dhoni's nature to brood over mistakes and he is quick to rectify his own mistakes and pushes others to do the. Fielding is the major worry as India have failed to stop the twos and threes, or cut off the boundaries and, to top it all, spilled too many catches. As if this was not enough, their bowling at the death has been poor and predictable.

But Dhoni was confident these problems could be addressed. "We want to win the series. We have to be in that phase of mind where you are very confident, but at the same time not to cross that line," said Dhoni. "We are taking care of the things we need to do, including fielding and death bowling."

Dropped catches not only made his side look silly, but also altered the course of the game in key moments. "It has been a lingering problem for some time now. Hopefully, we can arrest it in this series. There are a few youngsters who have come into the side. So, the responsibility will be on them to perform well. Once you have four good close-in fielders, then you can stop batsmen from getting those singles."

Zaheer Khan, who will play an ODI after nine months out with injury, looked in good rhythm. He worked up pace and pushed Sachin Tendulkar onto the back foot a couple of times at Monday's net session. "Zaheer and Harbhajan are the most experienced bowlers we have got. We need to improve our death bowling. Variation is important, but you have to bowl the yorkers. We need to fire them in more consistently towards the end to finish things off," Dhoni said.

India also have to contend with the uncertainty over Yuvraj Singh, who sustained a finger injury in the last T20 match. "He's been injected. We will see how exactly he feels tomorrow morning before the game," said Dhoni who indicated that Virat Kohli would come into the side if Yuvraj was unavailable.

For Sri Lanka, there was one fitness concern with Lasith Malinga yet to recover fully from fever. The visitors also hinted that Sanath Jayasuriya would be used in the middle order.