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India in battle of survival against Sri Lanka

Mauled by a depleted New Zealand in the opening game, injury-ravaged and battle-weary India will have to raise their game significantly against Sri Lanka in the second match to stay afloat in the one-day cricket tri-series in Dambulla on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Aug 15, 2010 14:55 IST
New Zealand

Mauled by a depleted New Zealand in the opening game, injury-ravaged and battle-weary India will have to raise their game significantly against Sri Lanka in the second match to stay afloat in the one-day cricket tri-series in Dambulla on Tuesday.

It has been frustrating for India after the drawn Test series against Sri Lanka, which ended just a couple of days before the ODIs.

They lost the opening match to New Zealand due to a stunning batting collapse, have been unhappy with the training facilities at the Ranagiri Stadium and have reportedly even shot off a letter to the BCCI seeking an end to such excruciating scheduling.

Injuries have wrecked the balance of the squad and a bowling reinforcement has already been called in Munaf Patel to cover for the off-colour Ishant Sharma, who is nursing a knee problem.

Bowled out for 88 in the opening match against a rag-tag New Zealand attack, India have a lot of soul-searching to do.

Missing the services of reliable willow-wielders such as Sachin Tendulkar, who has been rested, and the injured Gautam Gambhir, Indian line-up does not look as formidable as it is reputed to be.

Adding to the woes is the continuing poor run of the otherwise explosive Yuvraj Singh.

The swashbuckling left-hander, who can turn the game on its head when in flow, has had a miserable run so far and it would be quite a task for him to regain form.

Younger batsmen such as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli remain unpredictable and are yet to prove themselves consistent enough.

On the bowling front, although Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra have done a decent job in the absence of injured pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, they have not got the requisite support in the middle overs.

Against New Zealand, the Indians let it slip after reducing Ross Taylor's men to 28 for three in the first 10 overs and ended up chasing a formidable 289 due to the mid-innings bowling slump.

In the absence of Harbhajan Singh, the spin department looked ineffective as Pragyan Ojha failed to replicate his fine Test form in the series opener.

The only all-rounder in the side, Ravindra Jadeja, continues to struggle with both the bat and ball, which has made it quite difficult for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to find the right balance.