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India hope to pocket the series tomorrow

India will be looking to plug the loopholes and pocket the ODI series against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.

cricket Updated: May 11, 2007 12:58 IST

After Thursday's scrappy yet morale-boosting win, India will be looking to plug the loopholes and pocket the three-match one day cricket series against Bangladesh in the second ODI in Dhaka on Saturday.

The five-wicket win may have helped the team in leaving behind the stunning loss to the neighbouring nation in the World Cup, but the stiff competition put up by the hosts at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Thursday is yet another confirmation that Rahul Dravid's team have a battle at hand during the remainder of the tour.

Besides, the team management needs to take a long, hard look at what Dravid and stop-gap cricket manager Ravi Shastri have themselves described as 'grey areas.

In Thursday's match, the top order floundered, fielding looked sloppy and the pace bowlers wayward.

"There is work to be done in a couple of areas," Shastri said.

Openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag needlessly went out to soft dismissals, as did Dinesh Mongia. Yuvraj Singh committed himself too early to an aggressive shot, while Dravid failed to build upon the start he got.

"We need to bat a little well at the top. We should not have lost as many wickets as we did, but I am quite happy and I am sure as the games go on, the top order will fire", said Dravid, who has always found his bat refusing to do the talking against Bangladesh.

Despite his overall career average nearing 40, Dravid's figures hover in the mid-20s against Bangladesh,and he would be keen to improve upon that in the coming engagements.

The below-par ground fielding is also causing concern to the team, and new fielding coach Robin Singh needs to work on that area.

Dravid conceded the fielding lapses and said, "We can do better in that department and we expect to better in that department irrespective of the conditions."

The Indian pacers also failed to find their rhythm in the series opener and sent down very ordinary stuff providing the Bangladesh batsmen an easy time.

The most experienced pacer, Zaheer Khan, went for about eight runs an over and this should be a cause of worry for the Indian team management.

On the positive side are MS Dhoni, playing a matured knock of 91 in trying conditions despite cramps, and Dinesh Kaarthick, delivering again at a moment of crisis.

Part-time bowler Dinesh Mongia also came good with his left-arm spin to pick up three wickets, while offier Ramesh Power, another comeback man, also bowled decently.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, should be ruing their missed chances.

They set India a challenging total and proceeded to put them on the mat but eventually failed to pin them down.

"We were in the match for most of the time. We were waiting for one wicket when Dhoni and Kaarthick were batting and we felt that we had a chance right till the end if we got that wicket," said a dejected Habibul Bashar, whose lean patch has stretched to the series.

The hosts did not field well either, missing a crucial opportunity to run out Kaarthick in the 40th over.

"I think our excitement of being so close to victory made us miss the run out chance," Bashar said.

However, Bangladesh can take heart from the form of openers Javed Omar and Tamim Iqbal, and the all-round show of Saqibul Hasan.

Teams (from):

India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Kaarthick, Dinesh Mongia, Ramesh Powar, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful (vice-captain), Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Musfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Russel, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and Farhad Reza.

Umpires: EAR de Silva and Nadir Shah

TV umpire: AFM Akhtaruddin

Match referee: RS Mahanama